Saturday, December 18, 2010

Common Shelduck and Ruddy Shelduck

A male Common Shelduck in Regents park, London, UK; 4/10/10.
A very unique looking duck found at London's Regents Park was the Shelduck (Above). Both sexes are very much the same with white bodies and dark green necks and heads with some chestnut colorings on the wingtips, underside of the tail, and sides of the breast. The female's (Below) bill is not as bright red and doesn't possess the large swollen knob at its base. In some of my research, I found that some experts feel that this bird is a cross between a goose and duck. Female shelducks are prone to quack much like the more familiar Mallard, while males offer honks or whistles like a goose.

A female Common Shelduck, Regents Park, UK; 4/10/10.
Common Shelducks are common in British Isles, northern France, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Eurasia; mainly breeding in temperate and wintering in subtropical regions; in winter, it can also be found in North Africa.

A rare Ruddy Shelduck in Regents Park, London, UK; 4/10/10.
Another species of Shelduck we observed in Regents Park was the Ruddy Shelduck. It took me some time to identify this guy since it wasn't labelled as a common bird found in the park. Ruddy Shelducks, with their almost orange-coloured bodies fading to almost white on their heads, look completely different from all other European wildfowl. Although I didn't witness this, I read that while in flight they have a startlingly black and white wing pattern. Ruddy Shelducks breed and spend winters beside coastal lakes and deltas and also on inland lakes, rivers and marshes on high-altitude plateaus. The main population of the area, which breeds in the extreme south-east of Europe and Turkey, migrate south during September - then return to nest in the Spring. They have also been recorded in England, Ireland Scotland and Wales with over a 100 records since 1950 but breeding has only occurred in England with 1 or 2 pairs breeding in some years. However, there has been several recordings of the Ruddy Shelduck in and around the London area in 2010.

1 comment:

Chesney said...

What gorgeous colors....that last duck is very unusual!!