FULVOUS WHISTLING DUCK

FULVOUS WHISTLING DUCK (Dendrocygna bicolor) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Fulvous Whistling Duck adult male has a ‘fulvous’ (a brown-orange colour) head, neck and under parts. Wings and tail are black, with fulvous bars on the primaries. There is a central vertical dark grey line on the neck back. Front neck has a lighter patch. Rump is white, as well as a few feathers on the flanks. Short tail is black. Eyes are black. Bill, long legs and feet are grey. Bill upper mandible ends with a small hook. Female and juveniles are duller. Bird length is around 45 cm (18 inches).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Dendrocygna-bicolor
NAME: ‘Duck’ is from Anglo-saxon ‘duce’ and means ‘diver’. ‘Whistling’ refers to the duck’s call. ‘Fulvous’ means ‘reddish yellow’. Latin genus name ‘Dendrocygna’ means ‘tree’ and ‘swan’ (reason behind this name is unknown – Choate). However whistling ducks (which are not true ducks) are also called ‘tree ducks’. Latin species name ‘bicolor’ means ‘two colors’.
HABITAT: Coastal freshwater marshes, irrigated land (rice fields).
DIET: Mostly seeds and other plant material.
NESTING: Nest is built close to or above water in dense vegetation. Between six and sixteen creamy eggs are laid, incubated by both parents. Ducklings can feed themselves, but cared for by both parents. Nests can contain eggs from same or other species.
DISTRIBUTION: Year-round resident in south Florida, central Mexico, north and east South America, southeast Africa and Madagascar, and Bangladesh. Known to wander long distances in large flocks.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulvous_whistling_duck – /media/File:Dendrocygnabicolormap.png
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings listed as ‘accidental’ so far. See note below on bird vagrancy.
CONSERVATION: Widespread, does not appear to be at risk currently. One potential threat is impact of agricultural pesticides on species habitat.
NOTES: This species usually rests during the day, feeds and migrates at night. It can also be easily domesticated.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Black-bellied Whistling Duck
REFERENCES: http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/fulvouswhistlingduck.htm (New Hampshire PBS)
https://txtbba.tamu.edu/species-accounts/fulvous-whistling-duck/
http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/430/overview/Fulvous_Whistling-Duck.aspx
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/fulvous-whistling-duck
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulvous_whistling_duck
http://www.ducks.org/hunting/waterfowl-id/fulvous-whistling-duck
https://www.marylandzoo.org/animal/fulvous-whistling-duck/
https://txtbba.tamu.edu/species-accounts/fulvous-whistling-duck/ (Texas Breeding Bird Atlas)

Fulvous Whistling Duck - Scotland Neck, NC - Nov. 2009 - photo by Dick Daniels
Fulvous Whistling Duck – Scotland Neck, NC – Nov. 2009 – photo by Dick Daniels
Fulvous Whistling Duck, wings open - Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary, South Africa - Oct. 2012 - photo by Leo za1
Fulvous Whistling Duck, wings open – Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary, South Africa – Oct. 2012 – photo by Leo za1
Fulvous Whistling Ducks - Weslaco, TX - Nov. 2013 - photo by Alan Schmierer
Fulvous Whistling Ducks – Weslaco, TX – Nov. 2013 – photo by Alan Schmierer

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