Lesser Whistling Ducks or Indian Whistling Ducks


Lesser-whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna javanica) in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.


The Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica, also known as Indian Whistling Duck or Javan Whistling Duck, is a small whistling duck which breeds in South Asia and southeast Asia.

It may also be called the Lesser Whistling Teal (based on an older classification), or the Tree Duck.



This is a largely resident species distribuLesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica)ted unevenly from the Pakistan lower river valleys eastwards across most of peninsular India, Nepal terai, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, south China, to Vietnam. It is largely resident, apart from local movements (often induced by drought or floods), but Chinese birds winter further south.

Covering between 1 to 10 million km², it is estimated to have a global population of between two and twenty million individuals.

Habitat: still freshwater lakes, with plentiful vegetation, where this duck feeds on seeds and other vegetation. Occasionally seeks refuge in the ocean just outside the surf area.

May be seen often perching on trees near water bodies, giving rise to the alternate name Tree Duck.

Lesser Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna javanica)


Lesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica)Description

This species has a long grey bill, long head and longish legs. It has a buff head, neck and underparts, and a darker crown. The back and wings are darkish grey, and there are chestnut patches on the wings and tail. All plumages are similar.

This species is gregarious, and at favoured sites, such as Carambolin Lake in India, the flocks of a thousand or more birds arriving at dawn are an impressive sight.


Call / Vocalization:

The call is a wheezy, whistling "seasick, seasick", call, uttered in flight. Roosts can be quite noisy.



It nests in tree holes, old nests of other birds, or on a stick platform near the ground, and lays 6-12 eggs.


Javan Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica)References

  1. BirdLife International (2004). Dendrocygna javanica. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. justification for least concern: global population of between two and twenty million individuals (Wetlands International 2002).
  2. Grewal, Bikram; Bill Harvey and Otto Pfister (2002). Photographic guide to birds of India. Periplus editions / Princeton University Press. p. 58
  3. Ali, Salim; Sidney Dillon Ripley (1986/2001). Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan, 2nd ed.,10 vols (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. Bird Number 138, vol. 1, p. 138-140.

Other References

  • Wildfowl by Madge and Burn, ISBN 0-7470-2201-1
  • Birds of Goa (video)

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Relevant Resources

 Lesser-whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica) in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

Lesser-whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna javanica) in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.


Lesser Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna javanica)- after bath Diet / Feeding:

Ducks generally feed on larvae and pupae often found under rocks, as well as aquatic animals, plant material, seeds, small fish, snails and crabs.

Feeding Ducks ...

We all enjoy ducks and many of us offer them food to encourage them to come over and stay around - and it works! Who doesn't like an easy meal!

However, the foods that we traditionally feed them at local ponds are utterly unsuitable for them and are likely to cause health problems down the road. Also, there may be local laws against feeding this species of bird - so it's best to check on that rather than facing consequences at a later stage.

Please note that feeding ducks and geese makes them dependent on humans for food, which can result in starvation and possibly death when those feedings stop. If you decide to feed them, please limit the quantity to make sure that they maintain their natural ability to forage for food themselves - providing, of course, that natural food sources are available.

Lesser-whistling Duck, Dendrocygna javanica

Lesser-whistling Duck, Dendrocygna javanica


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