Ruddy Shelduck

Tadorna ferruginea  in हिंदी
Scientific Name:  Tadorna ferruginea

Name:  Ruddy Shelduck

    Local Names:
  • Assamese     চাকৈ-চকোৱা
  • Bengali     চখাচখি
  • Gujarati     બ્રાહ્મણી બતક, સુરખાબ, ભગવી સુરખાબ
  • Hindi     लाल सुरखाब, चकवा (नर), चकवी (मादा)
  • Malayalam     ചക്രവാകം
  • Marathi     चक्रवाक, सर्जा, ब्राह्मणी बदक
  • Nepali     चखेवा
  • Punjabi     ਸੁਰਖ਼ਾਬ
  • Telugu     చక్రవాకము
  • Kannada     ಚಕ್ರವಾಕ
  • Tamil     சிவப்புத்தாரா
  • Oriya     ପଣ୍ଡା ହଂସ
Contribute Photo

The Ruddy Shelduck is very distinctive with its beautiful rusty orange plumage.
The adult has rusty orange plumage overall, except black rump, undertail-coverts and tail. On the wings, the coverts are whitish, washed yellowish-orange in fresh plumage. Primary and secondary flight feathers are black, with green mirror on secondaries.
On the underwing, the flight feathers are black, contrasting with the white coverts.
The male has yellowish head and neck, with darker nape. During the breeding season, we can see a blackish collar, but it is sometimes concealed and invisible.
The female has similar plumage but she lacks the collar. She has whitish face and paler head and neck.
The bill is black. The eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are black.
The juvenile is duller than female, with washed greyish-brown plumage especially on head and upperparts.

Size in cm:

61-67 cm

Size in Inch

24-26 Inch

Primary color:


Secondary color:

black   (Bird may have more colors)


The Ruddy Shelduck feeds mainly on plant matter such as grasses, leaves, seeds and stems of aquatic plants, grain and vegetable shoots. They take invertebrates such as worms, insects, crustaceans and molluscs, and also small fish and amphibians. They may frequent rubbish dumps.

Habit and habited:

The Ruddy Shelduck occurs often in open country, on various brackish water, but also salty or freshwater lakes and rivers. It usually avoids wooded and densely vegetated areas. It may be found close to streams in mountains, up to 900 metres, but it reaches lower elevation during winter.


The Ruddy Shelduck gives trumpeting and honking aakh calls. This bird is noisy when in flocks during winter. Before to take flight, it utters repeated trumpeted pok-pok-pok The female gives lower calls than the male.

Bird Type:

Duck-like Birds


The ruddy shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), known in India as the Brahminy duck, is a member of the family Anatidae. It is a distinctive waterfowl, 58 to 70 cm (23 to 28 in) in length with a wingspan of 110 to 135 cm (43 to 53 in). It has orange-brown body plumage with a paler head, while the tail and the flight feathers in the wings are black, contrasting with the white wing-coverts. It is a migratory bird, wintering in the Indian subcontinent and breeding in southeastern Europe and central Asia, though there are small resident populations in North Africa. It has a loud honking call.

The ruddy shelduck mostly inhabits inland water-bodies such as lakes, reservoirs and rivers. The male and female form a lasting pair bond and the nest may be well away from water, in a crevice or hole in a cliff, tree or similar site. A clutch of about eight eggs is laid and is incubated solely by the female for about four weeks. The young are cared for by both parents and fledge about eight weeks after hatching.

In central and eastern Asia, populations are steady or rising, but in Europe they are generally in decline. Altogether, the birds have a wide range and large total population, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed their conservation status as being of "least concern".

The ruddy shelduck grows to a length of 58 to 70 cm (23 to 28 in) and has a 110–135 cm (43–53 in) wingspan. The male has orange-brown body plumage and a paler, orange-brown head and neck, separated from the body by a narrow black collar. The rump, flight feathers, tail-coverts and tail feathers are black and there are iridescent green speculum feathers on the inner surfaces of the wings. Both upper and lower wing-coverts are white, this feature being particularly noticeable in flight but hardly visible when the bird is at rest. The bill is black and the legs are dark grey. The female is similar but has a rather pale, whitish head and neck and lacks the black collar, and in both sexes, the colouring is variable and fades as the feathers age. The birds moult at the end of the breeding season and the male loses the black collar, but a further partial moult between December and April restores it. Juveniles are similar to the female but are a darker shade of brown.

The call is a series of loud, nasal honking notes, it being possible to discern the difference between those produced by the male and the female. The calls are made both on the ground and in the air, and the sounds are variable according to the circumstances in which they are uttered.

Distribution Map

  •     Resident (inc. local and altitudinal migrants)
  •     Former range (no recent records but may still survive)
  •     Summer visitor (including summer monsoon)
  •     Winter visitor
  •     Passage (autumn and/or spring) visitor
  •     known to be occasional, scarce or erratic
  •     Small isolated population (actual range smaller)  
  •     Isolated record(s) - one or more in the same area  
  •  colour coded for seasonality as per coloured ranges, black denotes unspecified season

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