Paradise Shelduck

The Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegate) is a large goose-like duck commonly found in New Zealand. They are known to the Maori as Putangitangi but are now commonly referred to as the “Paradise duck”, and were prized game birds. Both the male and female have striking plumage; the male has a black head and barred black body, the female a white head with a chestnut body.

This species usually live as pairs, forming long-term pair bonds, often lasting for life. They reach sexual maturity after two years, and build nests hidden in high grass or beneath rotting logs, and is lined with grass and feathers. Chicks fledge after eight weeks.

They graze on grass and weeds, and will sometimes raid crops, particularly when molting.

Paradise Shelducks were rare prior to European settlement, however changes to habitat caused by the conversion of forest to pasture, and the deliberate provisioning on ponds by hunting groups, has lead to a large increase in the numbers of these ducks.