Ruddy Shelduck distinctive duck with beautiful rusty orange plumage, the ruddy shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) looks very different from almost all other waterfowl.  The head is lighter than the body, with a white face and crown and often a dusky patch at the rear of the head. The neck is buffy and the stubby bill is black The rump, tail and primary and secondary feathers are black, often with a glossy green sheen, and contrast with the white wing-coverts, which are most conspicuous when the ruddy shelduck is in flight. The legs and feet are both black, and there is a black collar on the neck, which is absent or broken on breeding birds.

The female ruddy shelduck is very similar to the male, but usually smaller, with more white on the face, no collar and a buff wash on the upper-wing coverts. The juvenile is similar to the female but duller and with a browner back.

The ruddy shelduck swims with a characteristic posture, the head being held erect, but the front part of the body riding very low in the water and the rear part held high. This duck may be further identified by its trumpeting and honking “choor” and “aakh” calls.

The ruddy shelduck breeds in south-eastern Europe, Turkey, east through southern and central Asia to Mongolia and western China, with separate populations in northwest Africa and Ethiopia. A migratory species, it travels south before the onset of winter, with most European and Asian birds moving to south and south-eastern Asia, from Afghanistan east to eastern China, while North African birds disperse eastwards along the north African coastline, and Ethiopian birds move into lowland areas.

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