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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Jouko Lehmuskallio, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Shelduck

Tadorna tadorna

  • Name also: Common Shelduck
  • Family: Waterfowl – Anatidae
  • Appearance: Large ducks, almost as large as smaller geese, with distinctive white, black and reddish brown markings.
  • Size: Length 55–65 cm, wingspan 1–1.2 m, weight 800–1,130 g.
  • Nest: In a depression, underneath a building, or occasionally in a hollow tree.
  • Breeding: 8–15 eggs laid in May, incubated by female for 29 days. Ducklings learn to fly within 6–8 weeks.
  • Occurrence: Only nests in a few costal areas of Finland. Finnish breeding population estimated at 200–400 pairs.
  • Migration: Most birds leave Finland in early autumn, returning March-April after wintering in Western Europe.
  • Diet: Invertebrates, plants.
  • Calls: A laughing “dat-at-at-at-at-at”.
  • Endangerment: Vulnerable, protected in Finland. Globally Least concern.

Shelducks’ heads and necks are black with a green sheen. Their bodies are mainly white with a reddish brown band around their chests and shoulders and reddish brown markings on the tips of their secondary primary wing feathers and on their undertail coverts. The outer parts of their wings are black, and they have metallic green specula on their wings. A lengthwise black stripe runs along their underbellies, and their shoulders are also marked with black stripes. Their bills are bright pinkish red, and breeding males have a red knob on their foreheads.

Juvenile Shelducks have greyish brown backs, dark and white markings on their heads, and uniformly white underparts. Their bills are greyish pink. Shelducks’ legs are pink (adults) or greyish (juveniles), and their irises are brown.

Other species from the same family

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