Paradise Shelducks

a. k. a. New Zealand Shelducks

Tadorna variegata

A family of Paradise Shelducks -- female has the white head
Photo courtesy of Ray Desjardins

These birds are confined to New Zealand in the wild state. The sexes are easy to identify, as the male is sooty and the female a rich chestnut with a white head. Their bills, legs and feet are blackish. Males utter low grunts and have a low, rolling "ha-hoo" call. Females' calls are more high-pitched and honklike. They are very noisy.

Paradise Shelducks are normally found in pairs, tho' nonbreeding birds will gather in small flocks. The pair bonds are long lasting. Unusual among ducks, in this species it is the female that has an eclipse (nonbreeding) plumage.

Nests are found in hollow trees, cavities in cliffs and under clumps of grasses. They sometimes produce two clutches in their long breeding season, which lasts from August to January. Clutch size is 5-15 eggs and incubation lasts 30-32 days.

In captivity they are the most aggressive of the Shelducks (generally a problem group) and need to be housed in pairs. Fairly small enclosures will do as long as they have some grazing and a water source.

Paradise Shelduck Links:

Future Visions Farms has for sales

Ms Duck's page on the Paradise Shelduck

Another female
Photo courtesy of David Townsend

Paradise Shelducklings
Photo courtesy of Ray Desjardins



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