Cornish Biodiversity Network  -  Supporting Wildlife Recording

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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Tadorna tadorna - Shelduck

Range & Status

Palearctic; in Britain and Ireland there are 12,000 pairs; winter numbers peak during January to March, up to 81,000.

Regional Distribution

Cornwall: 30 - 50 pairs breed near the larger estuaries, but many more non-breeders are present in spring. Build up to peak numbers begins late November, reaching 1200 after the new year; the main site is the Tamar complex (up to 800, taking it to the level of National Importance with 1% of British and Irish winter population). Isles of Scilly: c. 20 breeding pairs on five islands in 2000/01 with many young predated by gulls. Up to 50 in late winter.

Habitat & Ecology

Feeds on estuarine flats, nesting in rabbit burrows etc., often a considerable distance from water. Bulk of birds leave estuaries in June, undergoing moultmigration to south Baltic region, returning from November onwards (Wright, 1979).


None identified other than increasing disturbance from development of estuaries for recreation and industry. In Scilly many broods are predated by gulls.


The main estuary sites are SSSI. The Tamar complex has been promoted for SPA status, part of it is a Cornwall Wildlife Trust reserve. Listed (long list) as a globally threatened/declining species (BSGR, 1995).

Click here to see Aphotoflora images by David Fenwick


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.

Cornish Biodiversity Network. 2017.