Radjah Shelduck


Radjah Shelduck (Tadorna radjah)

The Radjah Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) is a shelduck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
English name:
Radjah Shelduck
German name:
French name:
Tadorne radjah
Scientific name:
Tadorna radjah

Scientific classification




Are mostly white, Dark back reddish to black, rump and tail. Mantel, scapulars and breast band are dark rusty. Distinctive “collar” of dark feathers.
Breast and belly are white. Upper and under wing coverts are mainly white. Flight feathers are blackish. Secondary feathers form bright green speculum, bordered with black in front, and with white stripe behind. Head and neck are white. Bill, legs and webbed feet are pink. Eyes are very pale, almost white.

Are similar. Except for the males are slightly larger and show a wider breast band.

Resembles adult, with white parts slightly washed brownish. On wings, it has more black on great coverts, and duller speculum. Bill, legs and feet are whitish-pink. Eyes are dark brown.


Radjah Shelduck is usually seen in pairs or in small groups. Pairs form long-term pair-bonds. During breeding season, male becomes very territorial, and it may attack its mate. They are strongly monogamous.

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the Radjah Shelduck measures approximately 50-58 centimeters. The female measures approximately 50-58 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 816-910 gram. The female will weight about 816-910 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!

There are two subspecies:

  • Tadorna radjah radjah - Moluccan or New Guinea (Black-Backed)
  • Tadorna radjah rufitergum - Australian (Red-Backed)
The female Radjah Shelduck usually lays from 6-12 creamy white eggs and incubates them for 28-31 days.

Artificial incubating:

The ideal relative humidity for incubating most waterfowl eggs is 55% (ground nesters) and 40% (cavity nesters). The temperature is usually 37.4°C. Set ventilation as recommended by the incubator manufacturer. Eggs must be turned, either automatically or by hand, a minimum of 4 times a day. As the duckling develops there is a loss of water from the egg and the air sac gets bigger. In normal development of an egg with a 28-31 days incubation, the air sac occupies about a third of it three days earlier. Cleanliness is vital and ideally eggs should be moved to a separate hatcher at this point, where the humidity should be increased to 65% and even higher once they have pipped internally.

Bird banding:
Recommended closed leg band ring size for the Radjah Shelduck is 12 mm.
The leg band ring can only be applied on a young shelduck at around 12-14 days old.

It doesn't matter what leg that you band, but it's good to have a consistent system.
Suggested: Left leg = Female, Right leg = Male
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Maintenance food:
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Photos of the Radjah Shelduck