The Cape Shelduck, or South African Shelduck, lives along riverbanks, ponds and shallow lakes in South Africa.
Sometimes confused with the Ruddy Shelduck, drakes have a gray head and neck with buff breast. The rest of the body is chestnut red, similar to the Ruddy. Hens are close in appearance to the drake, but have a white face surrounded by a darker brown head.
There are many ornithologists that believe the Cape Shelduck is in fact a subspecies of the Ruddy, due in large part to their similar appearance and habits. Their care in captivity is nearly identical to the Ruddy. They are aggressive towards other species and will need to be housed apart from smaller ducks.
These birds are easily identified by their golden brown bodies and grey necks. The males have a grey head, whereas the females have a grey head with white around the cheeks and the eyes. The patches of white on the females head increase in size with age. The juveniles resemble the male but are much lighter in color. The ducklings are white and black.
Their breeding season is from May to June, in the
wild, they use holes and burrows made by other
animals, in captivity, use a half-buried, as in other
shelducks. They lay 7 to 15 eggs which hatch after 30
Incubation : 30 Days
Fledgling period is about 70 days and the young are
tended to by both parents
They can be aggressive during the breeding season
(and even kill other ducks and geese), therefore it
would be wise to house pairs separate from other
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Cape Shelduck Drake
Cape Shelduck Hen
Hen on the left and Drake on the right side