The Ruddy Shelduck is a bird of open country, and it will breed on cliffs, in burrows, tree holes or crevices distant from water, laying 6-16 creamy-white eggs, incubated for 30 days.
It is usually found in pairs or small groups and rarely forms large flocks. However, moulting and wintering gatherings on chosen lakes or slow rivers can be very large.
It is a distinctive species, 70 cm long with a 135 cm wingspan. It has orange-brown body plumage and a paler head. The wings are white with black flight feathers.
It swims well, and in flight looks heavy, more like a goose than a duck. The male has a black ring at the bottom of the neck in the breeding season summer, and the female often has a white face patch.