Spread and habitat
This duck owes its characteristic name to the habit of occupying the lairs of foxes and badgers. It is widespread along the coasts of northern Europe (especially the North Sea and the Baltic), in Asia (China, Japan and the lakes of Siberia). in Italy it is sedentary in Sardinia. It populates the sea coasts and brackish areas. In captivity, she shows sociability with her fellow men and with the other inhabitants of the pond, showing little diffidence towards the breeder and taking on behaviors that resemble geese.
The male is decidedly larger than the female and has a showy red lump on the beak.
The basic plumage is white; the head and neck are black-green, the beak red, the eyes dark brown.
The center of the chest is crossed by a large brown-rust collar; the winged wings are black. Red flesh legs.
Size of about 60 cm.
Nutrition and behavior
The diet is based on minnows, molluscs, insects, herbs, seeds and berries. In captivity it adapts to normal feed and balanced foods, supplementing the diet with worms, crustaceans and small molluscs.
It usually nests in burrows and holes in the ground (often deep burrows abandoned by foxes and badgers). It lays seven to twelve eggs with a whitish shell that hatches for about twenty-six days. In captivity it reproduces without difficulty. Couples are has a close bond. Newborn babies are led by their mother to the nearest water area to teach them to swim and feed.
shelduck Tadorna Tadorna (photo www.ouessant-digiscoping.fr)
Shelduck in flight (Tadorna Tadorna) (photo www.maakjedagnatuurlijk.be)