Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegata)


French: Tadorne de paradis German: Paradieskasarka Spanish: Tarro maorí

Anas variegata

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Dusky Bay, New Zealand


Sometimes placed in genus Casarca together with T. ferruginea, T. cana and T. tadornoides. One phylogenetic analysis found present species and T. tadornoides to form a clade, with T. cristata as a sister#R. Hybridization with other Tadorna species reported in captivity. Monotypic.


North I, South I and Stewart I, New Zealand.

Descriptive notes

63–71 cm; male 1420–1980 g, female 1059–1700 g. Upperwing characteristic in flight with white on coverts, dark primaries and iridescent green secondaries as... read more


Various vocalizations have been described: male most commonly gives goose-like honking, which tends... read more


Occupies a diversity of habitats, from coasts and estuaries to mountain streams, river flats,... read more

Food and feeding

Highly adaptable to both animal and vegetarian diet, but considered to be primarily herbivorous; greener parts of grasses, herbs and sedges... read more


Starts in late Jul/early Aug, sometimes later until Oct (especially among first-time breeders), although birds begin to reassemble on their... read more


Mainly sedentary, with only small-scale movements reported and some evidence that males are prone... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally widespread, with scattered populations; overall population of c. 120,000 birds in 1981, but had increased to c. 300,000 in... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegata). 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 February 2020).