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Length 53 cm, mass 387-781 g, males larger than females.
Southern Africa: Most of the population is concentrated in two areas of South Africa; the highveld of the Free State, North-West, Gauteng and Mpumalanga Provinces, and the lowlands of the Western Cape. The population is more scattered in the rest of South Africa, and in parts of Namibia and Botswana. An irregular visitor to Swaziland, the Lesotho lowlands, Zimbabwe and southern Angola.
Mainly shallow freshwater wetlands, including sewage ponds, estuaries, lagoons, pans, and dams. They probably select food-rich waters; cover for nesting is apparently a less important factor.
Cape Shovellers feed in shallow water by dabbling: Swimming forward with the head held low and the bill being used to filter food out of the water.
The diet includes aquatic invertebrates and tadpoles; aquatic plants and seeds are eaten rarely.
The nest is a scrape in the ground, in dense cover; it is lined with grass and down. Five to thirteen eggs are laid at any time of the year, with a peak in summer.
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