Shelduck is a rather large duck, which occupies an intermediate position between ordinary wild ducks and geese. Today, it represents a very large population, divided into two groups.
The first lives in the ponds with salty water, for example, in Central Asia, and the second group living on the territory of Russia, for example, in forest-steppe and steppe zone in the South of the country. Also selects the nesting site of the Islands of the White sea. In addition, different subtypes of these ducks have differences in way of life, for example, distinguish migratory, partially migratory and sedentary common shelducks.
Duck Shelduck has a large body but is quite long even unusual for these birds neck and legs. Males reach an average weight of 1.5 kg, females – 1.3 kilograms. This duck is easily distinguished from the others thanks to a special peg color. As they say many experts, this color at all unusual for many types of wild birds.
The basis of all of the plumage is white. Head in males painted in vivid black color with a green tint, then the sternum and scapula are red-brown, middle of belly and on the blades also feature black stripes. As this form of ducks, the males do not differ much from the females, the main difference is the presence of bright green mirrors on the wings of the drakes, as well as a noticeable pineal growth of the maxilla as seen in the photo. The legs of the birds pink.
Mature males of the common be much later than females. So, to mate a duck ready for the second year of life, at the time, as males only 4-5 year. If the ducks are sedentary, the pair formation begins in early spring, if migratory birds – even during the winter stops. Then the entire period of the flight of ducks kept their pairs and nesting areas arrive with the same partner. Return home peganki before, you can see them at the end of March is still snowy banks.
Although a couple of choose birds in advance and only one, that is, males are monogamous during mating drakes are very active. For example, he demonstratively pulls up his neck and starts to produce a very loud whistling cries. Also often there are fights of males, more often than not over a female and territory.
Peganki live usually in colonies, with nests can build far from the water. Females can choose the abandoned burrows of animals (Fox, badger, hare) or similar to dig the hole yourself. Also, the duck may take a cavity or other hollow wood. Inside the nest the female lays dry grass and down. Lays 8 to 10 eggs, rarely 12. However, because of the frequent proximity of the nests of several females, unscrupulous mothers can throw their offspring into the wrong socket. So often one female incubates and then raises several broods.
Hatching lasts 30-31 days, the male never left the nest. When the female leaves the burrow to feed on the pond, the male guards the eggs responsibly. At the approach of a predator, he begins loudly clapping wings and flies over the nest. On hearing the alarm, the female quickly returned to the masonry.
Hatched Chicks are immediately referred the parents to the pond. But often in this way they are warned of a danger. So nearby even strange birds trying to protect the juveniles accompanying them to the water. After 40-50 days, the Chicks can fly.
Shelduck refers to vociferous species of ducks. They can produce up to 12 syllables per second, so often their cries look like the beautiful warbling. The sounds of males and females are very different. So, for example, caring for a partner, Drake often gives a whistle, like “dew dew dew…”. Also he can make the deaf gagausia sounds “ha-ha-ha…”. The female answers fast and uninterruptible “gagaga…”. When the female is anxious, it produces more prolonged the slogan “gaak-gaak…”. But male screaming whistling “Xai-Xai..”
Distribution and habitat
Most of the time, except during nesting and hatching, the ducks, the Shelduck is carried out in water and on banks of reservoirs. Due to the rather high legs and neck, on dry land, unlike many other wild waterfowl ducks, they move very fast and even can run. In this peganki very similar to geese. Fly right, but slowly. Like the geese in flight are collected in the wedge, as pictured.
Today, this kind of ducks can often be found in Western Europe (sea coast), in southern areas of Sweden and the British Isles. Choose on the North coast of the White sea. But the largest population of common shelducks today is found in the steppe zone of Russia, on the Northern shores of the Black and Azov seas. And in some parts of Central Asia.
During the moulting Shelduck make seasonal migrations where they may be in for 25-30 days while lose the ability to fly. That’s why the majority of adult birds fly away until the hatchlings grow up. Favorite places in the shedding period for the common shelducks are found in the deltas of the river Elbe and the Weser, found here in August to 100 thousand individuals, as well as English Bay and Bridgewater. After molting the birds are returning to their former places of nesting.
Shelduck as food picks animal products. It may be small mollusks, and crustaceans, insect larvae. Of course, in different parts of ducks eat different foods. For example, in Northern Shelduck often eat snails, but in the Black and Azov seas the basis of their diet is crustaceans, Artemia and mosquito larvae.
Can also eat fry and eggs. In winter, an additional source of nutrients in menu introduce plant parts. Unlike most waterfowl, ducks, Shelduck not know how to dive.