Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Radjah Shelduck

Wednesday is the day I bring you an Australian bird and today it is the turn of the Radjah Shelduck -Tadorna radjah, also known as the Burdekin Duck in Australia.  The genus name Tadorna comes from Celtic roots and means "pied waterfowl", essentially the same as the English "Shelduck".


 Both the male and female of the species are mostly white, with dark wing-tips and a distinctive "collar" of dark feathers. Seen from above in flight the birds have green bands on the tops of their wings. The female has a harsh rattle and the male has a breathy, sore-throat whistle.  


Size  49–61 cm.  
In tropical dry season these large dumpty Shelduck flocks congregate on mangrove-lined river channels, tidal mudflats and beaches, or remain inland on permanent lagoons.  

In wet season moves from littoral habitat to the shallow margins of the expanding wetlands.   


Flight swift and powerful; dashes fast and low between trees.  Very vocal, calling in flight, on water or land.


The species prefers the brackish waters of mangrove flats and paperbark tree swamps, but will visit freshwater swamps, lagoons, and billabongs further inland during the wet season.


The Raja Shelduck forms long-term pair-bonds, and is usually encountered in lone pairs or small flocks. During the wet season the males commonly become very irritable, and have been observed attacking their mates.


The diet consists mainly of mollusks, insects, sedge materials and algae. Pairs start searching for nesting sites during the months of January and February. They nest close to their primary food source, often in the hollow limbs of trees, which makes habitat destruction a particular issue.



Breeding

Territories are occupied at start of wet season.  Most eggs are laid April –June so that ducklings have optimum feeding areas as flood waters recede.  Nest is a large tree hollow chosen by the pair and lined with down; same site probably used each year.  


Clutch 6–12.   Incubation time is about 30 days.  After ducklings leave nest they are attended by both parents and remain together in a family group throughout the following dry season .


The Radjah Shelduck inhabits the mangrove forests and coastline of New Guinea and Australia. In Australia, its primary range is coastal tropical northern Australia, from central Queensland through northern Northern Territory (including Kakadu National Park) to the Kimberley in Western Australia.



The Raja Shelduck is listed as a protected bird in all states of Australia and penalties exist for harming or disturbing them.







I hope you enjoyed hearing and seeing the Radjah Shelduck.

Thank you for visiting.

I appreciate all your comments and I thank you for everyone of them.

49 comments:

  1. I've not seen this duck before Margaret so really enjoyed seeing it in your series

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    1. Hi Carole Glad you enjoyed seeing this duck and reading the information about it. Thanks for comment.

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  2. A great series of photos of this beautiful duck. They occasionally appear as vagrants down here in SE Queensland.

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    1. HI Mick Glad you enjoyed seeing this beautiful duck. Thanks for comment.

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  3. It is a beautiful duck, Margaret! Wonderful post and photos!

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  4. HI Eileen Glad you enjoyed seeing this duck and reading the information about it. Thanks for comment.

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  5. They are quite plump aren't they. I like their black and white coloring.
    Lots of good info Margaret.

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    1. HI Carletta Glad you liked this plump duck. Thanks for comment.

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  6. They have very beautiful plumage. "Dumpy" also describes the shape of Muscovy Ducks and Egyptian Geese, introduced here in south Florida. Both are more closely related to shelducks than to true "dabbling" ducks.

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    1. HI Kenneth Glad you liked this dumpy duck. Thanks for comment.

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  7. I love this bird - it seems so exotic, yet occasionally turns up near Brisbane. I saw one wandering around a Caravan Park up north a couple of months ago and that kind of took away the 'mystery' haha! The shot of them perched on the dead tree is my pick here! :)

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    1. HI Christian Good that you have seen this duck. Thanks for comment.

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  8. It's a beautiful duck, very dramatic looking b&w colouring.

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    1. HI Gunilla Glad you liked this duck. Thanks for comment.

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  9. Love that black "collar" on them. It seems that would make them very easy to identify. Wonder if that one pair was fighting or involved in some sort of courting ritual. Great photos.

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    1. HI Linda Glad you liked this duck and its collar. Thanks for comment.

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  10. What a pretty duck they are! Look like they are wearing a necklace! Thank you too for all the info ...such a fun way to expand my meager knowledge!

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    1. HI Sallie Glad you liked this duck with its neckless. Thanks for comment.

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  11. they are very cute - like they're wearing little capes. :)

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    1. HI Tex Glad you liked this ducks in their capes Thanks for comment.

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  12. one I have not seen before. We have in the south of Sweden a few of it´s relatives usually coming. They differ in colors from yours.

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    1. HI NF Glad you liked this duck. Thanks for comment.

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  13. Thanks for the interesting information and wonderful pictures.

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    1. HI George Glad you liked this duck and information. Thanks for comment.

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  14. How fortunate we birders--master and novice--are to be able to see photos and learn about birds that we may never get a chance to see "in person" though birding blogs. As others have commented, like how well dressed this one is in its tuxedo! :-)

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    1. HI Faye Thanks for visiting my blog today. Every Wednesday I post an Australian bird and often on Saturday another 1 bird with info if you are interesting in learning. I appreciate your comments and am encouraged. Glad you liked this duck.

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  15. Another new bird for me! These are very pretty, they look like they are wearing black capes. And I love the soft pale color of their beaks. YOU are one smart cookie, you guessed my blog mystery today, BRAVO!

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    1. HI Ginny You are chalking up the 'new' birds now. Glad you liked this duck. Thanks for comment. So I guessed correctly, thanks for letting me know. Do hope you are OK.

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  16. Not a duck I see in my part of Oz - so thank you. Any duck is a good duck in my book.

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    1. HI EC Glad you liked this duck. Thanks for comment.

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  17. That is quite a pretty bird and one I had never heard of.

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  18. Lovely Radjah Shelduck, love it.

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  19. Lovely Radjah Shelduck, love it.

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  20. HI Ruth Glad you thought the duck was pretty. Thanks for comment.

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  21. oh i just love ducks!!! these are such cuties!!

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    1. HI Debbie Glad you liked this duck. Thanks for comment.

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  22. What a delightful duck. Thanks for your mass of information.....you should publish a book Margaret!

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  23. HI Em Oh you did make me laugh. It is a priviledge to be able to share information and I am grateful that others are interested in knowing more about nature and birds in particular. Glad you liked this duck. Thanks for comment.

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  24. Very cute black and white coloring' these are such pretty photos!

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    1. HI Karen Glad you liked these images. Thanks for comment.

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  25. as usual...an outstanding report on wild birds!great pictures,great comments!!

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    1. HI Roger I am very glad you enjoyed both the information and images on this post. Many thanks for your comments.

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  26. as usual,an outstanding report on Australian birds.thanks for this Margaret!

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  27. HI Roger You are so kind with you comments and I appreciate them very much.

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  28. A very interesting post - so enjoyed reading about this lovely duck :)

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  29. Radjah Shelduck ... what an interesting bird and a new one for me. Their behaviors are much like all ducks, but they certainly have a beauty of their own. Wonderful, informative post Margaret ...

    Andrea @ From The Sol

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  30. Cracking looking duck! They are not one I have seen very often!

    Stewart M - Melbourne

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  31. They are an attractive looking duck Margaret. I can clearly see the relationship to Common Shelduck from your pictures. Radjah sounds to be of slightly South eastern Asia origin?

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