British Waterfowl Association

Common Shelduck

Common Shelduck swimming
Common Sheldrake — Mo Warren
Female Common Shelduck standing in shallow water
Common Shelduck — Mo Warren

The knob on the bill of the drake is more pronounced than on the duck, which usually has some white between the bill and eye.

Tadorna tadorna

Common Shelduck are popular in many wildfowl collections. They are an attractive addition with their bold chestnut band across the breast and shoulders, glossy dark green head and neck, bright red bill and pink legs. The drake has a clear whistle, whereas the duck utters a hoarse quack.

Common Shelduck — Edward Giles

Common Shelduck are more gregarious than other shelduck species and can be introduced to a mixed collection successfully. They are not well suited however to confined spaces, where they are likely to quarrel.

It is common around Britain where it has a preference for salt marshes, coastal mudflats and sandy estuaries.

Shelduck dunes by John Foker SWLA

Common Shelduck prefer to nest in burrows and holes, where they lay a large clutch of 7–12 eggs and incubate for 30 days. In the wild, they often desert their ducklings at a young age, leaving them in crèches with just one or two adults to look after them.