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Radjah Shelduck (Rajah rajah) Fact Sheet: Managed Care

History of Managed Care

Private collections

  • 1866: First introduced to France (Gould and Rutgers 1967)
  • 1880s: Radjah Shelducks kept at a private estate in France (Phillips 1922)
  • 1900 to 1924: Additional imports to England (Phillips 1922)
  • 1922: First imported to the United States (Phillips 1922)
    • Bronx Zoo (then called the New York Zoological Park)
  • 1940: Successfully bred in Europe (Gould and Rutgers 1967)

San Diego Zoo and Safari Park

  • 1963: Radjah Shelducks mentioned in August issue of ZOONOOZ (Heublein 1963)
  • 2018: Radjah Shelducks featured in opening of new exhibit, Walkabout Australia (Scott 2018)



  • Pugnacious and competitive (Fatima Lujan, personal communication, 2018; Phoebe Vaughan, personal communication, 2018)
  • Alert (Fatima Lujan, personal communication, 2018)

Shelter requirements

(Fatima Lujan, personal communication, 2018, except as noted)

  • Large pond for swimming
  • Vegetation for hiding
  • Banks and in-water logs/branches for resting
  • High vantage points to observe surroundings
  • Translucent skin (beak, feet) sensitive to hot surfaces and sun exposure (Phoebe Vaughan, personal communication, 2018)

Social interactions

(Phoebe Vaughan, personal communication, 2018)

  • Can be kept in groups
    • During breeding, commonly pair off and defend territory
      • Birds can be paired prior to introduction to a group
  • Juveniles benefit from exposure to older, more docile groups
    • Reduces territorial behavior

Diet and feeding

(Fatima Lujan, personal communication, 2018)

  • Adult diet
    • Floating pellets (nutrition composition for waterfowl)
    • Spray millet
    • Lettuce
    • Meal worms and crickets—as special treats
  • Duckling diet
    • Small floating pellet
      • Nutrition composition for young waterfowl
        • More protein than adult pellet


(Phoebe Vaughan, personal communication, 2018)

  • Prefer a burrow, cavity, or nest box
  • Begin laying in April (early spring) [Slimbridge]
  • Precautions should be taken to avoid acclimation of young to humans
    • May hinder social interactions with Radjah Ducks during development
  • Reported to hybridize with Ruddy and Common Shelducks (Johnsgard 1965)

Enrichment and training

  • Low branches for perching (Phoebe Vaughan, personal communication, 2018)
  • Water tubs for splashing and play (in addition to large pond) (Fatima Lujan, personal communication, 2018)

A Room With a View

Banded Radjah Shelduck on grass at SDZ Safari Park

Radjah Shelducks are alert and watchful ducks.

In managed care, they seek high vantage points, where they can best observe their surroundings.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

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