The species shows a preference for saline habitats and frequents mudflats and muddy or sandy estuaries in coastal regions, and occurs inland on saline and brackish lakes in steppe or semi-desert (Madge and Burn 1988, del Hoyo et al. 1992). Asiatic populations also occupy freshwater rivers or marshes and other populations utilise freshwater habitats on migration (Flint et al. 1984, Kear 2005).
Its diet consists predominantly of salt-water molluscs (e.g. Hydrobia spp.) as well as other aquatic invertebrates (e.g. insects, crustaceans and worms), small fish, fish spawn and plant material (e.g. algae, seeds and agricultural grain) (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kear 2005).
Most populations of this species are migratory (although European populations are largely sedentary) and undertake extensive moult migrations to favoured moulting sites after breeding (Asiatic breeding populations may also moult near their breeding grounds) (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kear 2005). The species breeds in single pairs or small groups, non-breeders usually remaining in flocks throughout the year (Flint et al. 1984, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kear 2005). After breeding (between July and October) the species moults and becomes flightless for 25-31 days, during which it is highly gregarious and may aggregate into large flocks of up to 100,000 individuals or more (Madge and Burn 1988, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kear 2005).
CLASS : Aves
ORDER : Anseriformes
FAMILY : Anatidae
GENUS : Tadorna
SPECIES : Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Conservation status : Least Concern
Update : 11 April 2017