The ruddy shelduck is from the outset a bird of Central Asia but also occurs in Central Europe. Like most members of the shelduck group, the ruddy shelduck share average characteristics with both geese and ducks.
Ruddy shelduck grow to a length of about 60 cm. Males and females look completely similar: both have a predominantly rusty red plumage. The head and neck are brighter, females can even have a completely white head. The run away feathers and the tail are black, legs and feet vary from olive-grey to black.
During the breeding season, males also have a ticklish black neck ring that can help distinguish them from the females. In a nutshell, males generally have a stronger rusty red stain while females look paler.
The ruddy shelduck can mainly be found in the steppes of central Asia. Although the European populace is declining it can also be observed in southeast Europe. A very small population also lives in north-west Africa. In Tibet, it often populates uncommonly high lakes and other shallow waters up to 5000m of altitude.
Bird Watching Tips
Ruddy shelducks shelducks, most species found in the genus Tadorna (except for the Radjah shelduck (Radjah radjah), which is now found in its own are usually found in the neighbourhood of the body of waters like lakes and rivers. They are more rarely found in coastal areas.
Shelducks can be seen as intermediate between geese and crouches. This is clearly evident when they look for food. In shallow waters, ruddy shelducks are quietly dabbling in search of food, as you require probably already seen ducks do. But they also go to green areas around the water and pick grass and other plants from the base like geese. Their diet is mostly vegetarian but they will also eat small fishes and insects from time to time.
Another good feature concerns their breeding behaviour. Sometimes they use old raptor's nests, but most of the time they nest in break downs! These can be depressions in the ground or real rock caves, sometimes ruddy shelducks simply dig them themselves or use old burrows or hollow trees. During the good manners season, they defend their territory with passion and become very aggressive towards their own kind and other species.
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