Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
a genus of birds of the family Anatidae. The coloration is a combination of white, black, and red. Of the three species, two are found in the USSR. The most common species is the sheldrake (T. tadorna,) which is about 60 cm long and weighs 0.8–1.6 kg. It is distributed in the temperate zone of Europe and Asia. In the USSR the sheldrake is encountered on the islands of Estonia and in the steppe zone from the Danube to Transbaikalia; it winters on the Sivash, Caspian, and Black Seas. The bird dwells along the shores of seas and salt lakes and nests in burrows, in haystacks, in abandoned buildings, and, less commonly, in the open among shrubs. A clutch contains eight to 12 eggs (rarely up to 18), which are incubated for 28 days. The sheldrake feeds on small crustaceans, insects, seeds, and the vegetative parts of plants. In some regions nests are set up to attract the birds; the valuable down is then gathered from the nests. T. cristata, which once inhabited Japan and Korea and now seems to be extinct, formerly was occasionally encountered in the Primor’e Krai. T. radja inhabits the Molucca Islands, New Guinea, and northern Australia.