basic information

Common Shelduck

Tadorna tadorna (Linnaeus, 1758)

Пеганка | Италақаз
spring male

Pavlodar obl., Krasnovka
© Oleg Lyakhov


Breeds and widespread on migration throughout plain of Kazakhstan, and at Tuzkol lake at 2000 m close to Tekes village. Sometimes winters on Syrdarya river at the confluence of Keles river and Arys river. Two stray bird observed 25 April 1977 on Markakol lake. During mild winters, observed on Sorbulak lake in small numbers.


Common, in places numerous breeding migrant. Found in vicinity of salt lakes on plains. Appears with first thawed patches, when most land is still snow covered as of mid-February in south and as of March or April in more northerly areas. Migrating mostly in small flocks, but large flocks of 50 and more birds can be encountered. Arrives at breeding sites in pairs, nesting not far from one another. Prefers to breed in flat desert and steppe plains near (up to 2-3 km) salt lakes, where Brine Shrimp (Artemia salina) is their main food. Nests are placed in old underground fox or marmot holes, in old graves, winter huts, stone piles; open nests among salt-marsh vegetation and reed beds are rare. In some cases, birds burrow underground holes. Nest cup lined with dry grass and down. Clutches of 6-18, more often of 8-10 eggs in early April – mid June; sometimes late clutches represent a second clutch. Only female incubates, male keep an eye out nearby. Downy chicks observed from mid-May to early July, juveniles fly mid-June – end August. Both parents care for chicks and different broods sometimes join up with more than 50 offspring with one or several adults. In July - August adults fly to moult at large salty lakes (Tengiz, Karasor, Selety-Teniz and others), where they concentrate in thousands. Autumn migration begins in September – first half of October, some birds linger to mid-November.


Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999. В.К.Рябицев. "Птицы Урала, Приуралья и Западной Сибири". Екатеринбург. Изд-во Уральского университета, 2000.


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