Fulvous Whistling Duck – Profile | Facts | Fly | Female | Range

Fulvous Whistling Duck

Sometimes referred to as tree-ducks, the Fulvous Whistling duck is composed of a singular group of eight species of worldwide distribution, largely within the tropics. They are distinctive for his or her long-legged, long-necked, fairly chunky look.

Fulvous Whistling-Duck profile

Of the 2 species that attain the United States just one, the Fulvous Whistling-Duck, has been recorded in Washington. Its wealthy, tawny-colored underparts distinction with a darker back; all-dark wings and a broad white band throughout the rump stand out in flight.

The fulvous whistling duck or fulvous tree duck (Dendrocygna bicolor) is a species of whistling duck that breeds internationally’s tropical areas in a lot of Mexico and South America, the West Indies, the southern United States, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Indian subcontinent.

It has plumage that’s primarily reddish-brown, long legs and a long gray bill, and exhibits a particular white band throughout its black tail in flight.

Like different members of its ancient lineage, it has a whistling call which is given in flight or on the ground. Its most well-liked habitat consists of wetlands with plentiful vegetation, together with shallow lakes and paddy fields.

The nest, constructed from plant materials and unlined, is positioned amongst dense vegetation or in a tree gap. The typical clutch is round ten whitish eggs.

The breeding adults, which pair for all times, take turns to incubate, and the eggs hatch in 24–29 days. The downy gray ducklings depart the nest inside a day or so of hatching, however, the parents proceed to guard them till they fledge around 9 weeks later.

Fulvous Whistling Duck Distribution

This species usually favors open, shallow freshwater habitats equivalent to marshes, reed-fringed ponds, and flooded fields, roosting by day and foraging at night.

It breeds alongside the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Texas, in southern Florida, and within the Imperial Valley of southern California, south via the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America to Argentina.

It can also be resident in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Birds frequently wander northward in North America, predominantly east of the Rockies and sometimes in small events.


Fresh marshes (largely coastal), irrigated land. At most seasons, favors shallow freshwater or brackish marshes in the flat open nation of coastal plain; additionally flooded rice fields, different agricultural fields, ponds, lakes.

Migrants or strays could seem at any sort of water, however almost definitely at marshy shallows.

Fulvous Whistling Duck Overview

Whistling-ducks are a particular group of about eight species of brightly colored, oddly proportioned waterfowl.

The Fulvous Whistling-Duck is a mixture of wealthy caramel-brown and black, a long-legged and long-necked creature present in heat freshwater marshes throughout the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

In the United States, they’re hardly ever discovered removed from rice fields, which offer each meal and an optimum water depth for these gangly birds to forage in. They typically roost in bushes and have been as soon as often called “tree ducks.”

Forages, typically at night, by dabbling and by “tipping up,” decreasing the top and neck into the water to succeed in meals. Occasionally dives in deep water. Flocks are sometimes seen and heard flying between roosting and feeding sights at daybreak and nightfall, giving repeated whistling calls.

Rice fields, freshwater marshes, and ponds. In winter, additionally makes use of coastal lagoons, flooded savannas, mangrove swamps, and freshwater marshes. Migrants seem in lots of types of wetlands, even in saltmarshes.

A lanky bird of shallow wetlands, widespread within the tropics of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Known for its tendency to wander tons of miles in roving flocks. Unlike Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, this species seldom perches in bushes.

Fulvous Whistling Duck Description

The fulvous whistling duck is 45–53 cm (18–21 in) long; the male weighs 748–1,050 g (26.4–37.Zero oz), and the feminine averages marginally lighter at 712–1,000 g (25.1–35.3 oz). The wingspan ranges from 85 to 93 cm.

It is a long-legged duck, primarily totally different shades of brown; head, neck, and breast are significantly wealthy buff (fulvous) with a darker back.

The mantle is a darker shade of brown with buff-tipped feathers, the flight feathers and tail are darkish brown, and a darkish brown to black stripe runs via the middle of the crown down the back of the neck to the bottom of the mantle.

It has whitish stripes on its flanks, a long gray bill, and gray legs. In-flight, the wings are brown above and black under, with no white markings, and a white crescent on the rump contrasts with the black tail.

All plumages are pretty comparable, however, the feminine is barely smaller and duller-plumaged than the male. The juvenile has paler underparts, and seems typically duller, particularly on the flanks.

There is a whole wing moult after breeding, and birds then search the cover of dense wetland vegetation whereas they’re flightless. Body feathers could also be moulted all through the year; every feather is changed solely as soon as yearly.

These are noisy birds with a transparent whistling kee-wee-ooo call given on the ground or in flight, ceaselessly heard at night. Quarreling birds even have a harsh repeated kee.

In-flight, the beating wings produce an uninteresting sound. The calls of women and men present variations in construction and an acoustic analysis on 59 captive birds demonstrated 100% accuracy in sexing in comparison with molecular strategies.

Adult birds in Asia might be confused with the same lesser whistling duck, which is smaller, has a blackish crown, and lacks an apparent darkish stripe down the back of the neck.

Juvenile fulvous whistling geese are very like younger lesser whistling geese, however, the crown color remains to be a distinction. Juvenile comb geese are bulkier than whistling geese and have a darkish cap to the top.

In South America and Africa, juvenile white-faced whistling geese are separable from fulvous by their darkish crowns, barred flanks, and chestnut breasts.

Fulvous Whistling Duck Behavior

This species is normally present in small teams, however, substantial flocks can type at favored sites. It walks nicely, without waddling, and usually feeds by upending, although it may dive if necessary.

It doesn’t typically perch in bushes, in contrast to different whistling geese. It flies at low altitude with sluggish wingbeats and trailing feet, in unfastened flocks fairly than tight formation.

It feeds throughout the day and at night in pretty massive flocks, typically with different whistling duck species, however, rests or sleeps in smaller teams in the course of the day.

They are noisy and display their aggression in direction of different people by throwing back their heads. Before taking off in alarm, they typically shake their head sideways.

Several arthropod parasites have been recorded on this duck, together with chewing mites of the families Philopteridae and Menoponidae, feather mites, and pores and skin mites.

Internal helminth parasites embrace roundworms, tapeworms, and flukes. In a survey in Florida, all 30 geese examined carried not less than two helminth species; none had blood parasites. Only one duck had no mites or lice.


Fulvous Whistling-Ducks are wealthy cinnamon with broad black bars on the wings and back. The facet of the neck has fantastic white stippling and the flanks have long white stripes.

The tail is black, rump, and undertail white, and the legs and bill are darkish grey. Females have more blackish on the crown and back of the neck than males.


A big, oddly proportioned duck with long legs, a long neck, and a fairly long bill.


Mostly seeds. Diet apparently more than 95% plant materials, primarily seeds of aquatic crops and grasses, together with paspalum, wild millet, sedge, smartweed, and lots of others. Also eats just a few aquatic bugs.

Feeding Behavior

When feeding in water, could dabble at the floor, or tip-up with tail up and head and forepart of the body submerged. Also generally dives to take meals underwater. Does a lot of its foraging in damp fields (particularly in rice fields in the U.S.).

Fulvous Whistling Duck Feeding

The fulvous whistling duck feeds in wetlands by day or night, typically in combined flocks with family equivalent to white-faced or black-bellied whistling geese.

Its meals are usually planted materials, together with seeds, bulbs, grasses, and stems, however, females could embrace animal objects equivalent to aquatic worms, mollusks, and bugs as they put together for egg-laying, which can then comprise as much as 4% of their diet.

Ducklings might also eat just a few bugs. Foraging is by choosing plant objects whereas strolling or swimming, by upending, or sometimes by diving to a depth of as much as 1 m (3.3 ft).

Favored crops embrace water snowflake, aquatic ragweeds, bourgou millet, shama grass, Cape blue water lily, waxy-leaf nightshade, beak rush, flatsedge, and polygonums.

Rice is often a small part of the diet, and a survey in Cuban rice fields discovered that the crops taken have been primarily weeds rising with the crop. However, in an examination in Louisiana, 25% of the diet of incubating females consisted of cereal.

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Fulvous Whistling Duck Breeding

Breeding coincides with the supply of water. In South America and South Africa, the primary nesting interval is December–February, in Nigeria it’s July–December, and in North America mid-May–August.

In India, the breeding season is from June to October however peaking in July and August. Fulvous whistling geese present lifelong monogamy; the courtship display is restricted to some mutual head-dipping before mating and a brief dance after copulation by which the birds elevate their bodies facet by facet whereas treading water.

Pairs could breed alone or in unfastened teams. In South Africa, nests could also be inside 50 m (160 ft) of one another, and breeding densities of as much as 13.7 nests per sq. kilometer (35.5 per sq. mile) have been present in

Fulvous Whistling Duck Incubation

Both sexes incubate, altering over as soon as a day, with the male typically taking the higher share of this obligation.

The eggs hatch in about 24–29 days, The downy ducklings are gray, with paler upperparts, and a white band on the neck, and weigh 22–38 g (0.78–1.34 oz) inside a day of hatching.

Like all ducklings, they’re precocial and depart the nest after a day or so, however the parents shield them till they fledge around 9 weeks later.

Eggs and ducklings could also be preyed on by mammals, birds, and reptiles; one parent could attempt to distract a possible predator with a broken-wing display whereas the opposite adult leads the ducklings away. Birds are sexually mature after one year, and the utmost recognized age is 6.5 years.


12-14, generally 6-16. Whitish, changing into nest-stained. Females could lay eggs in every others’ nests (or nests of different species); such “dump nests” can comprise 60+ eggs.

Incubation by each sex, 24-26 days. May depart eggs unattended for hours on heat days till near hatching time. Young: can swim and dive nicely. Tended by each parent, however, discover their very own meals. Young fledge at about 2 months.


Can swim and dive nicely. Tended by each parent, however, discover their very own meals. Young fledge at about 2 months.


May pair for all times. In courtship, 2 (or more) could fly in massive circles with a lot of twisting and turning. Mated pairs could rear up on the water with the neck in tight S-curve and tread water facet by facet.

Nest site is on the ground next to water or in dense marsh simply above water. Nest woven of grass, sedges, cattails, generally with a cover of identical supplies above. Unlike most waterfowl, no down added to the nest.

Fulvous Whistling Duck Facts

Fulvous Whistling-Ducks generally graze vegetation, however, in contrast to Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, a lot of their foraging is by filter-feeding—straining fantastic mud for seeds and invertebrates, as Northern Shovelers do.

Adaptations for this kind of feeding embrace well-developed lamellae (comb-like constructions) within the bill, plus a broader bill tip that has a robust “nail.”

In some methods, whistling-ducks act more like swans than geese. The male helps handle the offspring and mated pairs keep bonded for a few years.

Pesticides utilized to rice within the 1960s brought about declines in Texas and Louisiana populations. Numbers have recovered and stabilized since then.

Fulvous Whistling-Ducks began breeding within the United States solely within the late 19th and early 20th centuries, following the start of rice cultivation.

The oldest recorded Fulvous Whistling-Duck was a male, and not less than 11 years, 2 months old when a hunter shot him in Cuba in 2004. He had been banded in Florida in 1993.

Where to search out

In the United States, search for Fulvous Whistling-Ducks in and around rice fields in central Florida (year-round) or coastal Texas and Louisiana (spring via fall).

In addition to rice fields, they might happen at crayfish farms and flooded pastures. They could flock with more quite a few Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, which have a grey head and brilliant pink bill, not a darkish bill.

Scan for these long-necked birds wanting up out of marsh vegetation or watch at nightfall and daybreak for flocks flying between roosts and foraging areas.

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