Key Characteristics

South African Shelduck are South Africa’s fourth largest waterfowl, with some males weighing slightly under 2 kg. The large size, bright chestnut-coloured body, grey head and upper neck of the male and grey upper neck and white face of the female are characteristic. The bill and legs are black.


 South African Shelduck have a wide distribution throughout South Africa, where they utilise smaller, inland waters from which regular moult migrations are undertaken to larger bodies of water. They are, however, conspicuously absent from the northern parts of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. They occur mostly in the drier regions and outside their moulting season, prefer temporary, shallow, often brackish waters such as pans, vleis, dams, estuaries and coastal lagoons, especially in open grassland areas. During the moult, usually between November and December, they can be found at well-defined large inland waters.

The Hunt

Shelduck are hunted over decoys from natural and man-made blinds. Morning shoots are generally on cultivated pastures or recently combined maize (corn) and wheat fields. Afternoon shoots usually take place around impoundments. Bag limits are generous and a gun can expect to shoot, depending on the time of the year, between 10 and 20+ waterfowl per day. Depending on the time of the year you will encounter, amongst other, the following species: Egyptian & Spurwing Geese, Yellow-billed Duck, Red-billed Teal, Southern Pochard, Whitefaced Duck & South African Shelduck. Parties of between 2 and 6 guns can be accommodated. Karoo Wingshooting has waterfowl concessions in excess of 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres).

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