Ian’s Bird of the Week – Paradise Shelduck ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter – 1/16/12
Shelducks are all rather splendid, so this one has to be particularly fine to earn the moniker ‘Paradise’. Interestingly, it is the white-headed female that is, I think, the more striking as in the first photo of a female having a drink (of salt water!) at Milford Sound.
The second photo shows the same bird stretching her wing to show us the gorgeous emerald green secondary flight feathers. Like all Shelducks, these are large ducks, averaging 63cm/25in in length and the males, averaging 1,700g/3.7lbs, are larger than the females, 1,400g/3.1lbs.
Meanwhile her mate, who has a dark brown head and finely patterned wing coverts, decides it’s time to go for a swim.
The males have the same black, emerald green and white wing pattern as the female as shown by this male flying along a…