Concentration of Ruddy Shelduck
There are very small resident populations of Ruddy shelduck in North West Africa and Ethiopia, but the main breeding area of this species is from southeast Europe across central Asia to Southeast Asia. These birds are mostly migratory, wintering in the Indian subcontinent.
Habitats of Ruddy Shelduck
Ruddy shelduck are found in rare in southeast Europe and southern Spain. Ruddy shelduck is still common across much of its Asian range. It may be this population which gives rise to vagrants as far west as Iceland, Great Britain and Ireland. However, since the European population is declining, it is likely that most occurrences in Western Europe in recent decades are escapes or feral birds. Although this bird is observed in the wild from time to time in eastern North America, no evidence of a genuine vagrant has been found.
Breed of Ruddy Shelduck
Ruddy shelduck will breed on cliffs, in burrows, tree holes or crevices distant from water, laying 6-16 creamy-white eggs, incubated for 30 days. Ruddy shelduck is usually found in pairs or small groups and rarely forms large flocks. However, moulting and wintering gatherings on chosen lakes or slow rivers can be very large.
Structure of Ruddy Shelduck
Ruddy shelduck is a distinctive species, 58-70 cm long with a 110-135 cm wingspan. It has orange-brown body plumage and a paler head. The wings are white with black flight feathers. It swims well, and in flight looks heavy, more like a goose than a duck. The sexes of this striking species are similar, but the male has a black ring at the bottom of the neck in the breeding season summer, and the female often has a white face patch. The call is a loud wild honking.
Migration in India
Ruddy shelduck is a common winter visitor in India. This bird is found in large wetlands, rivers with mud flats and shingle banks. Found in large congregation on lakes and reservoirs. It breeds in high altitude lakes and swamps in Jammu and Kashmir. The arrival of Ruddy shelduck commences in north India by October and departs by April. The genus name Tadorna comes from Celtic roots and means "pied waterfowl", essentially the same as the English "shelduck".
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