Common Shelduck Duck

The Common Shelduck Duck (Tadorna tadorna) is a waterfowl species shelduck genus Tadorna. It is widespread and common in Eurasia, mainly breeding in temperate and wintering in subtropical regions; in winter, it can also be found in the Maghreb. Its scientific name comes from Celtic roots and means “pied waterfowl”, essentially the same as the English “shelduck”.

Common Shelduck Duck

Common Shelduck Duck

Appearance: – The male Common Shelduck Duck has a dark glossy green head and neck. The lower neck and upper breast are white with a chestnut brown band around the breast and mantle, a white back, the underside is mostly white and the wings have black primary and secondary feathers with white fore wings. The beak is red with a conspicuous knob on the upper base, and the legs are pink. The female is similar but is smaller, duller, a narrow chestnut band around the breast, and does not have the knob on its beak.

Size: – Typical Adult is 20-23.5 inches.

Food: – Molluscs, crabs, crustaceans, algae, grasses, roots, seeds.

Habitat: – Estuaries, and salt marshes in coastal counties of the UK, north-west Europe and across into Asia.

Breeding Season: – Early May onwards.

Eggs: – 7 to 12 (creamy white color) incubated by female only.

Notes: – Common Shelduck Duck are very large ducks which spend more time out of water than most other ducks. In July many moulting flocks migrate to north-west Germany leaving the juveniles behind with a few adult birds to look after them.

The different types of wild ducks can be grouped into puddle, aka “dabbling” and diving ducks. The dabblers mostly feed in smaller bodies of shallow water or along shorelines, where they are able to tip their bodies forward to reach their food on the bottom. There are divers who feed in deeper water where they dive and pursue their quarry. Some of these birds, the Harlequin Duck for example, actually dives to the bottom of fast-flowing waters and feeds on life forms attached to rocks.

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