Overview

Comprehensive Description

Whistling-Duck is a large duck with rich red-brown plumage overall, with a paler face, front of neck and upper breast. There is a dark stripe on the crown of head, nape and back of neck. The bill and legs are dark. There are elongated flank plumes, which are off-white with chestnut edges. In flight, the dark underwings, cinnamon and chestnut underbody, white undertail and trailing dark legs are seen. This species is also known as the Whistling Tree-Duck, Water Whistling-Duck and the Red Whistler.

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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Distribution

Subspecies and Distribution:


    *arcuata (Horsfield, 1824) - Philippines, S Borneo, Sulawesi, Java, Lesser Sundas and Moluccas. *australis Reichenbach, 1850 - N Australia and S New Guinea. *pygmaea Mayr, 1945 - New Britain.


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Physical Description

Size

55-60 cm, 735 g

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Diagnostic Description

Whistling-Duck is a large duck with rich red-brown plumage overall, with a paler face, front of neck and upper breast. There is a dark stripe on the crown of head, nape and back of neck. The bill and legs are dark. There are elongated flank plumes, which are off-white with chestnut edges. In flight, the dark underwings, cinnamon and chestnut underbody, white undertail and trailing dark legs are seen. This species is also known as the Whistling Tree-Duck, Water Whistling-Duck and the Red Whistler.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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The Wandering Whistling-Duck prefers deep vegetated lagoons and swamps, flooded grasslands, sewerage farms, grain stubbles, pastures, irrigated lands and ricefields. It prefers deeper waters where aquatic plants and insects are plentiful.

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Trophic Strategy

The Wandering Whistling-Duck feeds almost entirely on aquatic vegetation and seeds, but also on young grass, the bulbs of rushes and other herbage, insects and other small aquatic animals. Wandering Whistling-Ducks forage in tight flocks, with the birds in front diving, and those behind flying over them

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

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Reproduction

The Wandering Whistling-Duck breeds in the northern Wet Season. The nest is a scrape in the ground out of reach of rising floodwaters, and is hidden in tall grass or shrubbery and lined with grass. Wandering Whistling Ducks are monogamous, and pair-bonds are most likely life-long. Not much is known about the incubation of the eggs and brooding of the young.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Not Threatened.

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Population

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Population

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Wikipedia

Wandering Whistling Duck

The wandering whistling duck (Dendrocygna arcuata) is a species of whistling duck. They inhabit tropical and subtropical Australia, the Philippines, Borneo, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.[2]

Taxonomy[edit]

There are three subspecies associated with this bird, D. a. arcuata (Indonesian wandering whistling duck), D. a. australis (Australian wandering whistling duck), and D. a. pygmaea (New Britain wandering whistling duck).

Description[edit]

Formerly named tree ducks, the wandering whistling duck has its new name because of their loud whistling calls and the whistling noise their wings make during flight. They have long necks and legs and look like a cross between a goose and a duck. They have a strong head and neck with a darker crown and hindneck. The breast contains black spotting and the feathers are mostly dark brown. They range in size from 54–60 cm in height and weigh on average 750 grams. They mainly feed on grasses, waterlillies, water plants and occasionally insects and aquatic vertebrae.

Habitat[edit]

The wandering whistling duck lives in deep lagoons, flooded grasslands or dams. They enjoy the water and rarely leave the shore. They can swim and dive with ease.

Breeding[edit]

Breeding occurs during the tropical wet season usually between December and May. During this time six to fifteen eggs are laid in a nest not far from water and usually in high grass or a sheltered area.

Pair of wandering whistling-ducks
Wandering whistling duck
Yandina, SE Queensland


References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Dendrocygna arcuata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ (Pizzey. G, Knight. F 1997 p. 26)
  • Field guide to the birds of Australia Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight, Angus & Robertson 1997, 3rd edition 2000. ISBN 0-207-19714-8
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