Tadorna tadorna


The Shelduck is one of our largest ducks, growing as big as some geese. It is mainly coastal, feeding on small invertebrates in the mud on estuaries and sandy beaches, but they have spread inland as gravel pits have been dug and flooded, their sandy shores and gravel banks providing a perfect feeding ground.

How to identify

A big white duck with a dark green head, bright red bill, orangey-brown band around the breast and black patches on the back and wings.

Where to find it

Common around the coasts and small numbers also nest inland on gravel pits.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

The survival of our waterbirds is threatened by the loss and degradation of many of our wetland habitats. The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Tadorna tadorna
Length: 58-64cm Wingspan: 1.1m Weight: 1-1.2kg Average Lifespan: 10 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.