The Common Shelduck is a large, somewhat goose-like duck with very dark green head, some black markings and chestnut breastband from the back of the neck to the beginning of the wings. Both sides of the body and back are white. The bill is red and drake has a little knob on the bill before forehead. The legs are pink. It moves the wings considerably slower while flying than other species of ducks. It weighs about 1 kg.

Major habitats are in the natural zones of steppes and semideserts. In Europe it breeds in coastal regions, Turkey, France, Poland, the British Isles, the Scandinavian countries and south-west Finland. In Estonia it is spread on the seashore, mostly on the maritime islands in western Estonia. The seashore with shallow coastal water is its habitat.

The Common Shelduck builds its nest into caves, deserted burrows of foxes and badgers, wide clefts in cliffs and other similar places. Its nests have been found in stone fences, under the floors and ceilings of dwelling houses. The pair remains together during the whole breeding period. They line the nest with plentiful downy feathers and the female bird lays the first eggs at the end of May. The full clutch (8 – 12 white eggs) is laid at the beginning of June. Both parents take care of hatching and feeding the young. The young hatch at the beginning of July and are able to fly at the end of August. Apart from hatching time, the Common Shelduck loves company and up to 50 birds flock together.

The Common Shelduck feeds on invertebrates caught from seatang heaps on shore and from shallow water. All the predators who can enter duck’s burrow and larger and stronger raptorial birds are its potential enemies in nature. The Common Shelduck is under protection.

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