Its main body colour is a variable orange-brown with a black rump and tail. Adult males have a cream head and neck, and a narrow black collar during the breeding season. Females have a paler, almost white patch on the face and do not have a black collar. Nests in rock recess, rock faces, ruins, buildings and on trees.
Unlike Shelduck, has not extended range to maritime coastal habitats but occupies wider spectrum of inland biotopes, from coasts of inland seas and lakes, salt lagoons and marshes, rivers, streams, and pools, up to hills, high plateaux, and mountainous regions, reaching nearly 5000 m in Pamirs and Tibet. Dependence on water for resting and feeding less than for most Anatinae, although needs access to some, shallow and preferably saline. Often on unvegetated banks and in steppe or semi-desert, with only small pools or streams accessible. Breeding recorded several kilometres from water.
Tadorna ferruginea is a widespread breeder across much of south-eastern Europe,
which accounts for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. Its European
breeding population is relatively small (30%)
over three generations.
A bird with a very fragmented distribution from north-western Africa and south-eastern Europe to Central Asia, as far East as Lake Baykal and Mongolia. A small population also exists in Ethiopia. The birds of north-western Africa formerly also used to visit southern Spain in winter, but in this country observations are currently only sporadic. In the European Union the species is today only occurring in Greece. These birds belong to the population of the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean, which has undergone a strong decline during the twentieth century, but seems currently to be quite stable. It is estimated at 20000 individuals
Omnivorous; plant material probably predominates, but proportions vary with locality and season. On land, where feeds more often than Shelduck, plucks vegetation and picks up seeds and invertebrates. Also grubs in wet soil, and dabbles and up-ends in shallow water.
This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 170,000-220,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]
Eggs are laid from mid-March to early may. The nests are holes in sand or clay banks, either natural or excavated by another animal; in abandoned buildings and farm sheds. In hollow trees up to 10 m above ground, crevices in rocks and cliffs, rarely on cliff ledge in the open. Nest is a shallow depression lined with down, occasionally a little grass is incorporated. Clutch size is 8-9 eggs, ranging from 6-12. This species incubates only one brood. Incubation period anges from 28-29 days and the young fldge after about 55 days.
Mainly dispersive or nomadic, but some migratory, especially from northern parts of breeding range. North African population, which formerly (to c. 1970s) wintered regularly in Spain, no longer migrates northward to Europe. Southward dispersal by some breeders of Balkans and Black Sea countries.
- spanwidth min.: 110 cm
- spanwidth max.: 135 cm
- size min.: 58 cm
- size max.: 70 cm
- incubation min.: 28 days
- incubation max.: 29 days
- fledging min.: 51 days
- fledging max.: 58 days
- broods 1
- eggs min.: 7
- eggs max.: 10
- Conservation Status