Common Shelduck

Common Shelduck

Male Common Shelducks are easy to spot. They have striking dark green (almost black) heads with bright, reddish-pink bills that have a large knob at the base.

Their bodies are white with a reddish-brown band around their breasts and patches of black on their sides and bellies. Females have the same but duller coloring and pattern as the males. 

  • Tadorna tadorna
  • Length: 25 in (63.5 cm)
  • Weight: 35.2 oz (997 g)
  • Wingspan: 39 in (100 cm)


Common Shelducks are usually found in Eurasia and North Africa, but they are sometimes spotted in North America.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Common Shelducks in marshes and estuaries. They are also commonly found in coastal areas and inland waters like lakes and rivers.

Common Shelducks often feed on invertebrates, small shellfish, and aquatic snails. Mollusks, crustaceans, and insects are their staple food. They are known to feed at night.

Common Shelduck Calls:


Nests of Common Shelducks are usually in enclosed spaces, like artificial structures, hollows of trees, haystacks, and gnarled roots. They are also known to use the burrows of animals like rabbits or badgers. 

The female lays eight to ten eggs, but the nest may contain more when other females dump their own eggs in. The incubation period lasts a month, and when the young hatch, some of them join a “nursery” of other young and are taken care of by other adults in the flock. 

Fun Fact:

Common Shelducks sometimes stomp their feet on the sand or mud to rattle the snails buried under and bring them to the surface.