Australian Shelduck – Profile | Traits | Facts | Call | Diet | Breeding

Australian shelduck

The Australian shelduck, scientific name Tadorna tadornoides, also called the Chestnut-breasted shelduck or mountain duck is a shelduck a part of the bird family Anatidae.

Australian shelduck Profile

Other names of the Australian shelduck are Chestnut-breasted Shelduck or Mountain Shelduck. The Australian Shelduck is a shelduck, a gaggle of huge goose-like birds that are a part of the bird family Anatidae.

The Australian Shelduck breeds in southern Australia and Tasmania. In the winter, many birds move additional north than the breeding range.

The genus name Tadorna comes from Celtic roots and means “pied waterfowl”. They are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

The Australian Shelduck might be present in southwestern and south-eastern components of Australia. It is a vagrant (solely often seen) north to the Kimberley area of Western Australia and in Central Australia.

This species has a really massive range and therefore doesn’t method the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 mixed with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small variety of places or extreme fragmentation).

The population pattern seems to be rising, and therefore the species doesn’t method the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population pattern criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations).

The population size could be very massive, and therefore doesn’t method the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature people with an unbroken decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population construction). For these causes, the species is evaluated as Least Concern (IUCN, 2012).

Australian shelduck, scientific name Tadorna tadornoides

The head, back, stomach, and tail are all black with metallic green highlights. A slim, white neckband separates the blackhead from the brown breast.

The feminine breast feathers are chestnut and the males are paler cinnamon. The wings have black primaries, metallic green secondaries, chestnut tertials, and white higher and underwing coverts. Females have rings of white feathers around the attention and base of the bill.

This species has a really massive range and might be present in Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. Inhabit freshwater swamps, brackish swamps, inland lakes, grasslands, open woodlands, pastures, and agricultural fields.


Approximately 55 to 73 cm (22 to 29 in.)


Approximately 1.3 to 1.5 kg (2.9 to three.3 lbs.)


28 days

Clutch Size

7 to eight eggs

Fledging Duration

70 days

Sexual Maturity

2 to three years

Life Span

10 to fifteen years

Australian shelduck, scientific name Tadorna tadornoides

Australian shelduck Distribution and habitat

The Australian shelduck primarily breeds in southern Australia and Tasmania and remains to be pretty common. In the winter, many birds move farther north than the breeding range.

As with different shelducks, this species has favorite moulting grounds, akin to Lake George, New South Wales, the place sizeable concentrations happen.

The Australian shelduck’s main habitat is lakes in a pretty open nation. It is extraordinarily cautious. It makes its nest in tree holes, holes in banks, or comparable places. Eight to fifteen eggs are laid and incubated for between thirty and thirty-three days.


After breeding some migrate long distances to specific massive wetlands akin to Lake George, Australian Captial Territory, and the Coorong, South Australia, to moult flight and tail feathers.

Australian shelduck Description

The males are largely darkish, with a chestnut breast. They have white neck collars and darkish green heads. The females are comparable, however, they’ve white around the eyes and are smaller. Both men and women present a white wing throughout the flight.

The Australian Shelduck is a big, brightly colored duck with a small head and bill. The male head and neck are black, tinged green, with a white neck ring and infrequently a white ring around the bottom of the bill.

The higher components are primarily black, whereas the underparts are darkish brown with a cinnamon breast. White upper wing coverts type a white shoulder patch.

The wings are black and deep chestnut with a big green speculum (window in the wing). The feminine has a white eye-ring and a chestnut breast.

Australian Shelducks are normally unmistakable, with the upright stance and darkish head contrasting with the white neck ring.

Australian shelduck Captive breeding

In aviculture, it could be a common species within the USA, but in Europe, they’re getting more uncommon. It breeds in half-buried nestboxes, as the opposite shelducks do as properly.

In the wild, they breed from June to September; in captivity (northern hemisphere) from May to July. Adults breed when they’re two to 3 years old and lay 8 as much as 14 eggs, which hatch after 30 days.

They might be aggressive through the breeding season (and even kill different geese and geese), subsequently it could be sensible to deal with pairs separate from different. Ring size: 14mm

Australian shelduck, scientific name Tadorna tadornoides


A loud honking, deeper and more grunted from the male, higher and more resonant from the feminine, ‘ong ank, ong ank’.

Australian shelduck Breeding behaviors

The nest of the Australian Shelduck is normally in a big tree hole, properly lined with down. They have additionally been identified to breed in rabbit burrows and in massive hollows on cliff faces.

Flightless downy younger might collect in creches. Only the feminine Australian Shelduck incubates the eggs, whereas the male defends the brooding territory. This species is monogamous and a few birds are identified to create everlasting pair-bonds.

Breeding season July to December
Clutch size: Ten to 14.
Incubation: 33 days

Australian shelduck, scientific name Tadorna tadornoides


The total population is unknown however scientists consider there are at the very least 10,000 mature people. The population seems to be rising and isn’t severely fragmented.

Australian shelduck Facts

In the wild, these geese might use holes and burrows created by different animals to construct their nest.

Within days of hatching, the younger are led to their nursery water by each parent or typically by different adults. This distance could be a mile or more!

There are a number of younger from different parents collectively under the care of 1 or more adults. The nursery group varies in size and age range however normally contains 20 to 40 people. Scientists consider the nursery supervisors are failed breeders or non-breeders.

Australian shelducks aren’t diving birds, however, they can dive if wanted. The younger ducklings dive freely however the adults solely achieve this when wounded or frightened.

These geese talk utilizing honks, grunts, and whistles.

Australian shelduck, scientific name Tadorna tadornoides


IUCN: Least Concern
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed

Australian shelduck Ecology and Conservation

The Australian Shelduck isn’t a popular game bird so it has not been considerably overhunted. They could also be looking often as a result of their behavior of grazing in agricultural fields and inflicting harm to crops.

Scientists consider their populations might have grown in recent times because of the enhance in agricultural irrigation and the development of recent water impoundments, which offer more meals and habitat for these geese.

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