The Living Desert
Home  >  Animals  >  Fulvous Whistling Duck

Fulvous Whistling Duck

Dendrocygna bicolor


Anatidae, the duck family.

Conservation Status:

Least Concern IUCN.


Worldwide tropics.


Freshwater wetlands, especially rice paddies, also flooded grasslands and pasture.


Their common name comes from the noisy, hoarse, and high-pitched, two-syllable whistling sound they make and from their coloring–fulvous means “tawny”.

A medium-sized duck with long necks and legs, they have buff to tawny-cinnamon heads, necks, chests and bellies with dark blackish-brown backs, wings, tails, bills and legs. Their wings are dark above and below, and there is a whitish band above the tail, visible during flight. Unlike most other ducks, they are largely nocturnal, resting during the day. They can be seen perching in trees, which is why they were formerly known as “Fulvous Tree-Ducks”.

Their diet consists mainly of seeds, plus aquatic invertebrates. As filter-feeders, they dabble at and just below the waterline, and make shallow dives. They are preyed on by foxes, birds of prey and snakes.

They have no obvious courtship displays and their nests are a simple bowl in dense floating or semi-flooded vegetation. Usually 12-14 white eggs are laid and the ducklings leave the nest soon after hatching. In some ways they behave more like swans than ducks – the males help to care for the offspring, and mated pairs stay bonded for many years.


Zoo News