South African Shelduck Tadorna cana Scientific name definitions

David G. Allan
Version: 2.0 — Published February 23, 2023


Systematics History

Anas cana Gmelin, 1789, Systema Naturae 1(2):510. Type locality given as Cape of Good Hope (34).

This species is sometimes placed in the genus Casarca, along with the Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegata), and Australian Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides), with the quartet being colloquially known as the ‘casarcas’ (35, 36).

Geographic Variation

No information, but perhaps unlikely in such a mobile species.


Monotypic (36).

Related Species

The South African Shelduck’s closest extant relative is probably the Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) (37), with which it has traditionally been considered to form a superspecies (38, 36).


Hybridizes in captivity with congenerics, and with Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca), Andean Goose (Oressochen melanopterus), and Upland Goose (Chloephaga picta) (39,40).


In isiZulu, the South African Shelduck is referred to as Idadelibomvu (41). In Sotho (Southern) it is Lefaloa (42). In Afrikaans, it is Kopereend, or Kopereend (Bergeend) (42).

Cana (Latin) means gray or hoary, in particular gray haired, in reference to the color of the male’s head.

Fossil History

Information needed.

Recommended Citation

Allan, D. G. (2023). South African Shelduck (Tadorna cana), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (G. D. Engelbrecht, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.soashe1.02