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Ruddy Shelduck - BirdForum Opus

Pair : Male ( right ) & Female
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India, March-2019

Alternative name: Brahminy Duck

Tadorna ferruginea


61–71 cm (24-28 in)

  • Orange-brown body
  • Paler head
  • White wing coverts
  • Dark primaries and iridescent green secondaries ( better seen in flight )
  • Male has black neck ring or collar clearly seen in breeding plumage
  • Female lacks neck-collar and has pale or whitish face
Photo © by Mugil
Fiesa, Portugal, August 2003

Similar species

South African Shelduck, Australian Shelduck, and female Paradise Shelduck are all similar; they do not overlap naturally with Ruddy Shelduck, but care needs to be taken with escapes from captivity, particularly in western Europe. Hybrids between any of these four species can also occur as escapes or feral birds. Note the exact tone of the head colour and patterns in particular for distinguishing them.


South-eastern Europe east to Lake Baikal and Mongolia. They are also in the Canary Islands (Fuerteventura), across north-western Africa and in the highlands of Ethiopia.

Their winter range extends to southern India and south-eastern Asia and China.


Flight : note dark primaries and green secondaries ( clear in the leading individual )
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Chambal River, M. P., India, Jan-2014

This is a monotypic species[1].


They can be found in a variety of watery habitats, particularly brackish and salt lakes and crater lakes.



They build their nests in burrows, tree holes or crevices sometimes quite a distance from water. The clutch consists of 6-16 creamy-white eggs, which are incubated for 30 days.


They are mostly vegetarian, their diet consisting of vegetables and shoot, rice grains, plant stems roots, grass, leaves and seeds.


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Recording by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, India, December-2015
Calls given by individuals in flight. Calls by Common Moorhens are also heard.

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  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved February 2015)
  3. Birds of Indian Subcontinent : Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, OUP, 2014
  4. HBW Alive Descriptive notes : https://www.hbw.com/species/ruddy-shelduck-tadorna-ferruginea#Descriptive_notes

Recommended Citation

External Links