Definition of shelduck in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈSHelˌdək/
(male also sheldrake /ˈSHelˌdrāk/ //)

noun (plural same or shelducks)

A large gooselike Old World duck with brightly colored plumage, typically showing black and white wings in flight.
  • Genus Tadorna, family Anatidae: several species, in particular T. tadorna of Eurasian coasts, with white, greenish-black, and chestnut plumage.
Example sentences
  • One of the most attractive of our waterfowl, the goose-like shelduck is renowned for its spectacular moult gatherings along the northern coast of Germany.
  • Low-level attacks against crèches of Canada geese and shelduck are another spectacle, the avocets performing highly attractive ‘butterfly’ flights.
  • Dozens of humans and millions of domesticated birds have died in at least eight Asian countries so far, and now China has said the disease is killing wild bar-headed geese, cormorants, and shelducks.


Middle English (as sheldrake): probably from dialect sheld 'pied' (related to Middle Dutch schillede 'variegated') + duck1. The form shelduck dates from the early 18th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: shel·duck

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.