Return to main search page

Ruddy Shelduck, Tadorna ferruginea


Short description of Tadorna ferruginea, Ruddy Shelduck

This large duck closely resembles the common shelduck in size and shape but its plumage is mainly reddish-brown.  The head is a paler, creamier brown, and the bill and legs are black.  In flight, the wings are strikingly black and white, with black flight feathers and white wing coverts above and below. Cape shelduck T. cana, which also occurs in GB as a non-native, is very similar but the Cape shelduck has a grey head.

Description of Tadorna ferruginea, Ruddy Shelduck status in GB

Ruddy shelduck has a long history of occurring in GB as an escape from captivity but some old records, up to 1946, are officially treated as wild vagrants from the native range.  Recent sightings in GB may include small influxes from non-native populations on the near Continent.  A few pairs have recently bred in GB, in Norfolk.

Habitat summary: Tadorna ferruginea, Ruddy Shelduck

In its native range, this is a species of mainly dry, often mountainous landscapes, where it occurs on lakes and marshes, by rivers or sometimes far from water.  Non-native birds occur in more enclosed wetland habitats and sometimes perch in trees or on buildings.

Overview table

Environment: Terrestrial and Freshwater
Species status: Probably non-native
Native range: Albania, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Bhutan, Denmark, Algeria, Egypt, Western Sahara, Spain, Ethiopia, Greece, Italy, Laos, Libya, Morocco, Moldova, Nepal, Pakistan, Romania, Russia Central, Russia East, Russia North, Russia Northwest, Russia South, Sudan, Thailand, Tunisia, Ukraine, Vietnam
Functional type: Herbivore
Status in England: Probably non-native
Status in Scotland: Probably non-native
Status in Wales: Probably non-native
Location of first record: Norfolk
Date of first record: 1869

Distribution map

Map of the UK with areas shaded to show the UK distribution of Ruddy Shelduck

GB Distribution from NBN Atlas

Author's name:

John Marchant

Last updated:

September 30th 2016

We try to keep these factsheets up to date, however if you notice any issues please contact us

[You must enable JavaScript to see this email address]

Thin strip of image show tree trunk and bark