name = Shelducks

image_width = 204px
image_caption = Female Common Shelduck
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Anseriformes
familia = Anatidae
subfamilia = Tadorninae
genus = "Tadorna"
genus_authority = Boie, 1822
subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision = "T. ferruginea"
"T. cana"
"T. tadornoides"
"T. variegata"
"T. cristata"
"T. tadorna"
"T. radjah"
synonyms ="see text"

The Shelducks, genus "Tadorna", are a group of large birds in the Tadorninae subfamily of the Anatidae, the biological family that includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl such as the geese and swans.

The shelducks are a group of larger often semi-terrestrial waterfowl, which can be seen as intermediate between geese ("Anserinae") and ducks. They are mid-sized (some 50-60 cm) Old World waterfowl. The sexes are colored slightly different in most species, and all have a characteristic upperwing coloration in flight: the tertiary remiges form a green speculum, the secondaries and primaries are black, and the coverts (forewing) are white. Their diet consists of small shore animals (winkles, crabs etc) as well as grasses and other plants.

They were originally known as "sheldrakes", this remained the most common name until the late 19th century.cite book|last = Lockwood| first = W. B.|title = Oxford Book of British Bird Names|publisher = Oxford University Press|date = 1984] The word is still sometimes used to refer to a male shelduck and can also occasionally refer to the Canvasback ("Aythya valisineria") of North America.cite book|last = Simpson| first = J. A.|title = Oxford English Dictionary|publisher = Oxford University Press|date = 1989]


The genus name "Tadorna" comes from Celtic roots and means "pied waterfowl", essentially the same as the English "shelduck".cite book| last =Kear| first =Janet| title =Ducks, Geese, and Swans| publisher =Oxford University Press| date =2005| pages =420| url =,M1| isbn =0 19 861008 4 ]

The namesake genus of the Tadorninae, "Tadorna" is very close to the Egyptian Goose and its extinct relatives from the Madagascar region, "Alopochen". While the classical shelducks form a group that is obviously monophyletic, the interrelationships of these, the aberrant Common and especially Radjah Shelducks, and the Egyptian Goose were found to be poorly resolved by mtDNA cytochrome "b" sequence data; [Sraml, M.; Christidis, L.; Easteal, S.; Horn, P. & Collet, C. (1996): Molecular Relationships Within Australasian Waterfowl (Anseriformes). "Australian Journal of Zoology" 44(1): 47-58. DOI|10.1071/ZO9960047 (HTML abstract)] this genus may thus be paraphyletic.

*Ruddy Shelduck "Tadorna ferruginea"
*Cape Shelduck "Tadorna cana"
*Australian Shelduck "Tadorna tadornoides"
*Paradise Shelduck "Tadorna variegata"
*Crested Shelduck "Tadorna cristata" - possibly extinct (late 20th century?)
*Common Shelduck "Tadorna tadorna"
*Radjah Shelduck "Tadorna radjah"

Fossil bones from Dorkovo (Bulgaria) described as "Balcanas pliocaenica" may actually belong to this genus. They have even been proposed to be referable to the Common Shelduck, but their Early Pliocene age makes this rather unlikely.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • shelduck — [shel′duk΄] n. pl. shelducks or shelduck any of a genus (Tadorna) of brightly colored wild ducks that feed on fish, shellfish, etc. and nest in burrows …   English World dictionary

  • Shelduck — Shel duck , n. [Sheld variegated + duck.] (Zo[ o]l.) The sheldrake. [Written also {shellduck}.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • shelduck — /shel duk /, n., pl. shelducks, (esp. collectively) shelduck. 1. a sheldrake. 2. a female sheldrake. [1700 10; SHEL(DRAKE) + DUCK1] * * * or sheldrake Any of several short billed, somewhat gooselike, Old World ducks with long legs and an upright… …   Universalium

  • shelduck — /ˈʃɛldʌk/ (say shelduk) noun (plural shelducks, shelduck) 1. any of various ducks constituting the genus Tadorna, certain of which are highly variegated in colour, as the Australian shelduck, T. tadornoides. 2. any of various other ducks,… …   Australian English dictionary

  • shelduck — Goosander Goos an der, n. [OE. gossander, a tautological word formed fr. goose + gander. Cf. {Merganser}.] (Zo[ o]l.) A species of merganser ({M. merganser}) of Northern Europe and America; called also {merganser}, {dundiver}, {sawbill}, {sawneb} …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • shelduck — Sheldrake Shel drake , n. [Sheld + drake.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any one of several species of large Old World ducks of the genus {Tadorna} and allied genera, especially the European and Asiatic species. ({Tadorna cornuta} syn. {Tadorna tadorna}), which… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • shelduck — urvinės antys statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Tadorna angl. sheld duck; shelduck vok. Kasarka, f rus. огарь, m; пеганка, f pranc. tadorne, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – melsvasparnės žąsys siauresnis terminas –… …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • shelduck — noun Etymology: shel (as in sheldrake) + duck Date: 1707 any of various Old World ducks (genus Tadorna); especially a common mostly black and white duck (T. tadorna) slightly larger than the mallard …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • shelduck — noun Any of various waterfowl of the genus Tadorna, native to Eurasia, Africa and Australasia …   Wiktionary

  • shelduck — [ ʃɛldʌk] noun (plural same or shelducks) a large goose like duck with boldly marked plumage. [Tadorna tadorna and related species.] Origin C18: prob. from dialect sheld pied (rel. to MDu. schillede variegated ) + duck1; the term sheldrake… …   English new terms dictionary