Common Shelduck - Tadorna tadorna
|Chicks at birth||
|IUCN Conservation Status||
The Common Shelduck is a common bird that is widespread throughout Europe and parts of Asia and Africa. They are predominately white with a dark green head and neck and a chestnut breast-band. The wings coverts are white, the primaries are black, and the secondaries are green and chestnut colored. They have a black belly and their bills are red with pinkish red feet and legs. During the breeding season, the male's bill has a red knob at the base. The sexes are similar but the female is smaller and has white facial markings.
Common Shelducks have a large range and the population seems to be increasing. Thus, it is of 'Least Concern' for extinction.
Diet: Common Shelducks eat salt-water molluscs and other invertebrates, small fish, and plant material such as algae, seeds and grain.
Courtship: Courtship behavior includes ritualized preening called Preening-behind-the-wing by both sexes.
Nesting: The Common Shelduck builds their nests in a variety of places such as caves, tree hollows, nest boxes, deserted burrows, etc. The nest is lined with downy feathers and the female lays 8-12 eggs. Both parents take care of the chicks.
Habitat and Range: Common Shelducks prefer saline habitats such as mudflats and estuaries in coastal areas and saline or brackish lakes in steppe or semi-desert areas. They will also occupy freshwater rivers or marshes. They are found throughout Europe, Asian and some winter in Northern Africa and southern parts of Asia.
Vocalization: The male produces melodious and high-pitched whistling sounds.
Plumage/Molt Common Shelducks molt annually after the breeding season. During this time (25-31 days) they are flightless and will form large flocks of up to 100,000 individuals.
Migration: Most Common Shelduck migrate to southern Asia, Europe and North Africa during winter. This is less true for the European populations who tend to be resident all year.
Tongue/feet: Legs and feet are a pinkish red.
- http://en.wikipedia.org The Free Encyclopedia, Accessed June 2012
- http://birdlife.org BirdLife International, Accessed June 2012
- Johnsgard, Paul, Handbook of Waterfowl Behavior: Tribe Tadornini (Sheldgeese and Shelducks),University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1965