Wandering Whistling Ducks

Wandering Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata)

The Wandering Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata) is a species of whistling duck.



They inhabit tropical and subtropical Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.


There are three subspecies:

  • D. arcuata arcuata (Indonesian Wandering Whistling Duck)

  • D. arcuata australis (Australian Wandering Whistling Duck), and

  • D. arcuata pygmaea (New Britain Wandering Whistling Duck).


Formerly named Tree Ducks, the Wandering Whistling Duck have their 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.

Wandering Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna arcuata)



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 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.

Wandering Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata) - adult with chicks


Wandering Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata) References

  • BirdLife International (2004). Dendrocygna arcuata. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Field guide to the birds of Australia Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight, Angus and Robertson 1997, 3rd edition 2000. ISBN 0-207-19714-8
  1. (Pizzey. G, Knight. F 1997 p. 26)

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Relevant Resources

Wandering Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna arcuata)

Wandering Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata)


Diet / Feeding:

Fulvous Whistling Ducks feed mainly at night and a large part of their diet is made up by plant foods and seeds.

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.


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