Common Shelduck, scientifically known as Tadorna tadorna, is a species of waterfowl, which is commonly found throughout the coastal regions of Europe and Asia. It is a large-sized bird that belongs to the family of Anatidae. The males are slightly larger than females and have more prominent black and white markings on their body. The female, on the other hand, has a lighter color than the male and has a brown head and neck.
The Common Shelduck is a social bird that lives in large flocks, sometimes up to several thousand birds. It is also known as sheld-duck, shieldrake, burrow duck, or common eider. It is a migratory bird that breeds in Europe and Asia and wintering sites are located in the Mediterranean, Africa, and South Asia. During the breeding season, they can be found around the coastal area and other wetland habitats. They also breed in holes in cliffs and riverbanks, which are dug by the females.
The diet of Common Shelducks consists mainly of aquatic invertebrates, mollusks, and small crustaceans, and sometimes they also consume seeds and plant material. They feed in shallow water and mudflats by walking and paddling their feet in the substrate.
One of the special characteristics of Common Shelducks is their ability to fly at high altitudes. They are often observed flying at altitudes of up to 4000 meters above sea level. The bird's distinctive white wing patches are visible during flight, making them easily recognizable.
Common Shelduck population numbers are declining in some areas due to habitat loss, hunting, and disturbance during the breeding season. However, their populations are still healthy in many other regions.
In conclusion, the Common Shelduck is a fascinating waterfowl species found across Europe and Asia. Their unique physical traits, habits, and conservation needs make them an important bird to study and protect, so that they can keep enriching our ecosystem for years to come.