Paradise shelduck, Tadorna variegata

posted in: bird, Feeding strategy | 0
Photo 1. Male Paradise shelduck on the left and the more colourful, white headed female on the right.


Wong Kais encountered a family of Paradise Shelducks on 5 & 6 November 2014 when he visited Zeelandia Te Māra a Tāne, a wildlife sanctuary in Wellington, New Zealand. This wildlife sanctuary of 225 ha is completely fenced to give the native species a chance at restoring their decimated  population.  It is a popular tourist destination located just at the fringe of Wellington city.

Family     : Anatidae

Subfamily: Anatinae

Tribe        : Tadornini

Interesting Snippets: The ducks are rather goose-like and are good game birds. The goose-like characteristics include their rather large size, long necks and charging at perceived threats like geese. They are endemic to New Zealand and can be seen in open grasslands with water bodies including in public parks.

The birds display inverted sexual dimorphism. The females are more colourful with white coloured heads while the males are more drab with black coloured heads. Eggs are laid from August – October each year.  The eggs are incubated for 30-35 days. The fledging period averages 8 weeks.

The ducks feed on grass, earthworms, insects and crustaceans.

The photographs in the photo gallery and 3 videos of this shelduck family are all copyrighted to Wong Kais.

Photo 2. The male Paradise shelduck on the right and female on the left. Even the feathers on the back of the female are more colourful.
Photo 3. Side view of a female Paradise Shelduck. The side view of its head and beak hints at goose-like appearance.
Photo 4. The beautiful colours on the female duck.
Photo 5. Dorso-lateral view of the beautiful feathers on the back of the female duck.
Photo 6. The contrasting brown and black feathers of the wings and tail of the female duck.
Photo 7. The female parent watching over her ducklings grazing on the green grass.
Photo 8. The parent preens her feathers while her young charges feed voraciously.
Photo 9. Close-up of a downy duckling. The black stripes add on to their attractiveness.
Photo 10.  Two ducklings grazing next to each other. A third duckling is grazing nearby.
Photo 11. Four ducklings graze while mother sits nearby.


Photo 12. Visitor and Education Centre at Zeelandia, Wellington.


Photo 13. The mother duck seen inside the sanctuary.Article by Teo Lee Wei


  1. Handbook of the Birds of the World © 1996 vol. 1

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