The Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), also known as the Brahminy Duck, is a species of waterfowl that belongs to the family Anatidae. It is a migratory bird that breeds in high-altitude regions of South Europe and Central Asia and migrates to South Asia during the winter months.Appearance and CharacteristicsThe Ruddy Shelduck is a medium-sized duck that is about 58-70 cm (23-28 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 110-135 cm (43-53 inches). The male and female have similar plumage, with a distinctive orange-brown head and neck, white patch around the eye, and a chestnut breast. The back and wings are a pale gray, with black primary feathers and a bright blue speculum. The bill is black in color, and the legs and feet are gray. In flight, the Ruddy Shelduck displays a contrasting pattern of white and black under its wings.Habitat and DistributionThe Ruddy Shelduck is primarily found in high-altitude areas of Central Asia, including parts of Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Tibet. During the winter months, it migrates to the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, and North Africa. It prefers to live near freshwater bodies such as lakes, rivers, and wetlands, and can also be found in agricultural fields and grasslands.Behavior and DietRuddy Shelducks are usually found in pairs or small flocks, and are known to be social birds. During the breeding season, they form monogamous pairs and build their nests on the ground, often in rocky or gravelly areas. The female lays a clutch of 8-10 eggs, which she incubates for about a month. Both parents take care of the young after they hatch.The Ruddy Shelduck is an omnivore, feeding on a variety of food including plant matter such as seeds and grasses, as well as small invertebrates like insects, snails, and crustaceans.Conservation StatusThe Ruddy Shelduck is listed as "Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List, as it has a large range and a stable population trend. However, it is still threatened by habitat loss and hunting in some parts of its range. In India, it is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.