Monday, 26 January 2015

Day 86 - Stunning Shelducks

Hi everyone,

Shelducks (Tadorna tadorna)
Day 86 today and a quick post today on a lovely colourful bird I see in lots of places I go, from Norfolk, to Yorkshire and the Lakes. They are easily recognisable and very colourful, they are of course Shelducks.

So what did I find out about these lovely water birds?

  • The mainly live on the coast but can be seen inland around reservoirs and gravel pits.
  • I was surprised to find there are only around 15,000 breeding pairs in the UK, but they are joined by others that overwinter here and there can be around 61,000 in the winter in the UK. They are an Amber status bird.
  • They like to breed in tree hollows or burrows, such as rabbit burrows. In some places they were killed because they were competing with rabbits for burrows!
  • Shelducks moult their wing and tail feathers at the same time and they aren't able to fly when they do this, sometimes for as much as four weeks!
  • A group of Shelducks is called a dopping or doading.
    And a few more...
  • They gather together at favourite sites for moulting and UK moulting sites can have around 4,000 Shelducks but more amazing is a German site where they have had around 100,000. That's quite a dopping!
  • Shelduck babies, shelducklings, are taken by their parents soon after they are hatched to nurseries, lots of shelducklings are gathered together and looked after by a few adults. Up to 200 Shelducklings  have been recorded in one nursery!
  • When any danger is spotted adults fly away and all the Shelducklings dive out of danger.
  • They eat invertebrates, molluscs and crustaceans.
  • Typically they live for around 10 years but the oldest one was recorded as 24 years and 8 months.

Well, I found out lots I didn't know about these birds! If you want to find out more try these sites:

Hope you enjoyed,


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