Mallards and shelducks

For ages, the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) was the most common water fowl in the parks of Moscow. The default water bird, so to say: everyone knew the green-headed drakes and the unremarkably brown hens.

In the past three to five years, the mallard’s position has been challenged by the ruddy shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea). These birds are not new to Russia: the Russian term from the ruddy shelduck, ogar’, gave rise to the relatively common surname, Ogarev – or, to better reproduce the Russian pronunciation, Ogaryóv.

However, they are new to central Russia, including Moscow. The northern border of their habitat area used to be hundreds of miles south of the capital. There is a theory that Moscow’s ruddy shelducks are descendants of escapees from the city zoo. Others say their move northward is a side effect of the global warming. Whatever the explanation, it’s a notable development.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *