This strikingly coloured winter visitor is a Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea). Though it also goes by the name of Brahminy Duck in India, it is, perhaps, better known as Surkhab. However, online search would reveal that the Hindi/Urdu word Surkhab has been used loosely to call many a bird that possess a stunning plumage, Golden Pheasant being one of them. Chakwa (also Chakrawak) is the other name by which this duck is known in India and this name has a presence in Hindi literature and folklore. This bird is revered by Buddhists in Tibet and Mongolia. The Ruddy Shelduck is an Old World duck with a short bill and a distinctive goose-like appearance. Both males and females have bright ruddy plumage and paler creamy head. Male can be identified by a prominent black neck ring in its breeding plumage.
Braggart of Bharatpur: Ruddy Shelduck
Updated: Mar 27, 2023