The Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)


The Common Shelduck is a large waterfowl species of the Tadorna genus. While the shelduck shows some characteristics usually attributed to ducks the majority of its characteristics are genuinely goose making it a so-called half goose.


Basically, the Common Shelduck looks like a short-necked smaller goose. Immediately catching the observer's eye are the reddish pink bill and feet. The body is mostly white with chestnut patches, a partly black belly and a dark head and neck. The eyes of the bird are as dark as is the head, making it difficult to take shots of bird at low light.


Both sexes look similar but the female is slightly shorter and the male bears a large red knob at the forehead during breeding season.



male common shelduck standing at a lake
Male Common Shelduck dozing off a bit


Distribution and Abundance of the Common Shelduck


One can certainly say that the Common Shelduck is distributed across the whole of Europe. Though, we are talking a rather fragmented breeding range stretching from Iceland, with no population on Svalbard and reaching out across the Urals to China in the Far East.


In west and central Europe, the Common Shelduck is mostly concentrated on the British south, Belgium, The Netherlands, the northern half of Germany and Denmark. Basically, the Common Shelduck is breeding on the coastlines of Norway, the British Isless, on the coast lines of the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, on the Atlantik coastlines of France, Spain and Portugal and on the norther coast of the Mediterranean. There are also scattered populations on the Black Sea and in Caspi region.


The Common Shelduck is massively expanding its breeding ranges in northwest and southwest Europe. Even in Russia, the shelduck is meanwhile expanding up north to the Murman coast.



common shelduck in waterr
Common Shelduck foraging in shallow waters
common shelduck on wall
Common Shelduck on a wall
common shelduck in water
Common Shelduck swimming in shallow water
common shelduck in water
Common Shelducks foraging in shallow water
common shelduck in water
Common Shelducks in shallow water


References - Further Reading


Bauer, Hans-Günther, Bezzel, Einhard et. al. (HG), Kompendium der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Band 1, Sonderausgabe 2012, Aula Verlag, Wiebelsheim

Bauer, Hans-Günther, Bezzel, Einhard et. al. (HG), Kompendium der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Band 3, Literatur und Anhang, Aula Verlag Wiebelsheim, 2. vollständig überarbeitete Auflage 1993

Bezzel, Einhard, Kompendium der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Non-Passeriformes, Band 1, Aula Verlag Wiesbaden, 1985

Bruun/Singer/König, Der Kosmos Vogelführer, Franck'sche Verlagshandlung Stuttgart, 5. Auflage 1982

Glutz von Blotzheim, Urs et. al (HG), Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Band 2, Anseriformes (1. Teil), Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, Wiesbaden, 1979, Nachdruck der Auflage von 1968

Svenson, Lars et. al, Der Kosmos Vogelführer, Franck-Kosmos Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, 2. Auflage 2011

Uspenski, S.M. Dr. habil, Die Wildgänse Nordeurasiens, Die Neue Brehm Bücherei, Band 352, A. Ziemsen Verlag Wittenberg Lutherstadt, 1965


Bundesamt für Naturschutz: Nationaler Vogelschutzbericht 2019 gemäß Artikel 12 Vogelschutzrichtlinie, Berichtsdaten aus dem Abschnitt Bl...E Wintergäste (pdf download)