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On hatching, ducklings stumble straight to the nearest water on legs that have never been straightened.

Description: The Radjah Shelduck is white with a chestnut band across its chest. Its wingtips, back, rump and tail are black while green and russet patches may be seen in a distinct pattern along its extended wings. It has a white eye with pink legs, feet and beak. The juvenile is much like the adult, except that the white portions are slightly brown.

Diet: The Radjah Shelduck is an omnivore and eats molluscs, insects, algae and sedges. It uses its beak to filter the water in search of bugs and seeds.

Breeding: The Radjah Shelduck nests close to both water and its food supply and so is rarely seen too far from water. It often chooses a hollow tree to hold its cream coloured eggs. The ducklings leave the nest soon after hatching, heading straight for the water to clean off. Both parents care for the ducklings.

Threats: This species has a large range and population. Habitat destruction and shooting have nevertheless contributed to a decline in its numbers.

Did you Know?

Radjah Shelducks are monogamous and pairs become very territorial during the wet season when breeding grounds are established.

Australian Wetlands
Other Name/s
Raja Shelduck, White-headed Shelduck, Burdekin Duck
Scientific Name
Radjah radjah
Conservation Status
Least Concern
Body Length
48–60 cm
840–930 g
28–30 days
Number of Eggs
Northern Australia
Tropical coastal wetlands, rivers, mudflats, mangroves and paperback swamps
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