Back, wing-coverts, and flanks, white; a broad ferruginous band on the breast: bill, frontal protuberance, and legs, red.
Anas Tadorna, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. ii. p. 833. Shieldrake, Mont. Orn. Diet, ty Supp. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 341. Common Shieldrake, Selb. Must. vol. ii. p. 289. pl. 48. (Trachea,) Linn. Trans, vol. iv. pl. 15. f. 8, & 9.
Entire length twenty-three inches six lines: length of the bill (from the forehead) two inches, (from the gape) two inches three lines; of the tarsus one inch eleven lines; of the tail three inches eight lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing twelve inches three lines.
(Male). Head, and upper part of the neck, deep blackish green with glossy reflections; lower part of the neck, back, wing-coverts, flanks, rump, and base of the tail, pure white: across the breast a broad band of ferruginous brown, the ends passing upwards and uniting between the shoulders: scapulars, a mesial abdominal list dilating at the vent, and tip of the tail, black; under tail-coverts pale reddish brown: primaries black: speculum rich bronzed-green: three or four of the secondaries next the body with their outer webs rich orange-brown: bill, and a fleshy protuberance on the forehead, blood-red: irides brown: legs flesh-red, inclining to crimson. (Female). Smaller; no frontal protuberance, but a whitish spot instead: the colours in general not so bright as in the male: the pectoral band, and abdominal list, narrower; the latter often interrupted by large white spots. (Young of the year). Forehead, cheeks, front of the neck, back, and all the under parts, white: crown and back of the neck dusky brown, with whitish specks: the pectoral band faintly indicated by a very pale tinge of reddish on that part: scapulars dusky gray, edged with pale ash: lesser wing-coverts white, with dusky tips, having a mottled appearance: tail tipped with cinereous brown: bill reddish brown: legs livid gray. (Egg). Smooth; shining white: long. diam. two inches nine lines; trans, diam. one inch eleven lines.
A common species on many parts of the British coast, where it resides all the year. Prefers flat and sandy shores. Is rarely observed inland. Breeds in rabbit-burrows, or in holes in sand-banks excavated for the purpose. Eggs eight to ten in number. Food, sea-weed, marine insects, and small bivalve mollusca.