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Shelduck: the shell eating duck

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Shelduck: the shell eating duck

A visit to Poole Harbour at any time of year will undoubtedly yield a number of these handsome ducks. In winter, however, the numbers increase with birds coming south from northern Britain and Scandinavia.

The shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) is not actually a duck, and It not a goose either! Scientifically, it placed between the two and actually, it is not hard to see why as it displays characteristics of both. The diet of a shelduck is somewhat different to ducks and geese who tend to be vegetarian. Shelduck eat enormous numbers if hydrobia which are tiny molluscs that live in our estuary mud flats. Molluscs have shells hence the name - shelduck. The duck that eats shells; easy!

Males and females are very similar but the male (as in this photo) has a broader brown waste band.

Shelduck make their nests in burrows, often those of rabbits. How does such a large bird get down into such a relatively small hole?


 

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If you would like to see the complete series that this post is part of click here ---->
This nature note was written by ----> Peter Orchard
This nature nore was written ----> 1 year 10 months ago

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