Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)


French: Tadorne de Belon German: Brandgans Spanish: Tarro blanco

Anas Tadorna


, 1758,

coasts of Europe


One of least typical Tadorna species. Has been considered a possible link between present genus and Alopochen, but further molecular study required. Hybridization with several species of Tadorna, Alopochen aegyptiaca, Anas platyrhynchos and Somateria mollissima recorded in captivity. Monotypic.


Coastal NW Europe and scattered Mediterranean sites E through C Asia to NE China, and S to Iran and Afghanistan. In winter reaches N of Africa, Iraq, Pakistan, N India, Bangladesh and S China.

Descriptive notes

56–67 cm; male 830–1500 g, female 562–1250 g; wingspan 100–133 cm. Unmistakable; appears black and white at distance. Upperwing characteristic in... read more


Especially just before and during breeding season; vocalizations sexually dimorphic from early age... read more


Favours coastal mudflats and estuaries, generally occurring in salt or brackish water, particularly... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly aquatic invertebrates (molluscs, insects, crustaceans), with predilection for saltwater snail (Hydrobia ulvae), especially... read more


Starts Apr/May, with older birds generally returning to breeding grounds first. Monogamous, with long-term pair-bonds, although pair... read more


Most northern and inland populations move southwards to winter at lower latitudes, thus many Asian... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and fairly abundant, especially in W Palearctic, where numbers have increased and range has expanded during last four... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 27 January 2020).