Birdwatchers were in for a treat this migration season as a couple of Common Shelducks (Tadorna tadorna) were seen in the mudflats of the Tanza Marine Tree Park (TMTP) in Navotas City.

Common Shelducks are rarely seen in the Philippines, but for the last couple of weeks, the two pairs have been seen mingling and feeding with other migratory and resident waterbirds of the TMTP.

According to the book “A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines” by R. S. Kennedy, P. C. Gonzales, E. C. Dickinson, H.C. Miranda Jr., and. T.H. Fisher (Oxford University Press, 2000), the first sighting of Common Shelducks in the country was in 1916, in the neighboring province of Bulacan.

This was followed by sightings of the bird in the towns of Macabebe and Masantol in Pampanga in 2010, and again in 2012 at the Candaba Wetlands, also in Pampanga.

The Common Shelduck is a large goose-like duck. It is mostly found in the coastal regions of NW Europe, around the Mediterranean, and Central Asia to NE China. During migration season, they fly down south using the East-Asian Australasian Flyway.

TMTP and the whole Manila Bay lie along the said flyway. The rich wetland ecosystem it supports is one of the reasons why migratory birds are attracted to the area.

DENR National Capital Region, together with the city government of Navotas, is leading efforts to protect and conserve the shores of TMTP and its natural resources by conducting regular coastal cleanups and mangrove enrichment activities.