Australian shelduck

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Australian shelduck
Tadorna tadornoides female 1 - Perth.jpg
Tadorna tadornoides male 1 - Perth.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Tadorna
Species: T. tadornoides
Binomial name
Tadorna tadornoides
(Jardine & Selby, 1828)

The Australian shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides), also known as the chestnut-breasted shelduck or mountain duck, is a shelduck part of the bird family Anatidae. The genus name Tadorna comes from Celtic roots and means "pied waterfowl".[2] They are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1974.

Taxonomy and naming[edit]

Kukabrak (Ngarrindjeri) Yaraldi clan Mulbarapa would have known the Australian shelduck as their ngatji (totem) Nongkalalwori for millennia.[3]

William Jardine and Prideaux John Selby described the Australian shelduck in 1828.


The males are mostly dark, with a chestnut breast. They have white neck collars and dark green heads. The females are similar, but they have white around the eyes and are smaller. Both males and females show a white wing during flight.[4]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Australian shelduck mainly breeds in southern Australia and Tasmania and is still fairly common.[5] In the winter, many birds move farther north than the breeding range. As with other shelducks, this species has favourite moulting grounds, such as Lake George, New South Wales, where sizeable concentrations occur. The Australian shelduck's primary habitat is lakes in fairly open country. It is extremely wary. It makes its nest in tree holes, holes in banks, or similar locations. Eight to fifteen eggs are laid, and incubated for between thirty and thirty-three days.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Tadorna tadornoides". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Kear, Janet (2005). Ducks, Geese, and Swans. Oxford University Press. p. 420. ISBN 0-19-861008-4. 
  3. ^ from R.M. and C.H. Berndt, A World That Was, 1993
  4. ^ Kightley, Chris (2010). Wildfowl. A&C Black. p. 165. ISBN 1408138956. 
  5. ^ Ogilvie, Malcolm Alexander; Young, Steve (2002). Wildfowl of the World. New Holland Publishers. p. 60. ISBN 1-84330-328-0.