Fulvous Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna bicolor
Fulvous Whistling Ducks inhabit a range of wetland habitats, including freshwater marshes, swamps, lakes, ponds, and flooded grasslands. They can be found in regions of the Americas, Africa, and parts of Asia. Their world range extends from the southern United States and Mexico to South America, as well as throughout sub-Saharan Africa and parts of southern and southeastern Asia.
They have a distinct whistling call, which gives them their name. They are medium-sized ducks with a rich chestnut or tawny-colored body, a pale face, and a long, pinkish-brown bill. Their long legs and necks contribute to their elegant appearance.
These ducks are known for their social behavior, often forming large flocks. They are strong fliers and may travel long distances in search of suitable habitats and food resources.
Fulvous Whistling Ducks are predominantly herbivorous, feeding on a variety of plant material. Their diet consists mainly of aquatic vegetation, grasses, seeds, and agricultural crops. They forage by grazing on land or by dabbling in shallow water, often in the company of other waterfowl species.
Fulvous Whistling Ducks nest in a variety of locations, including dense vegetation, shrubs, or trees near water bodies. They may also use floating vegetation or build nests on the ground. The female selects the nest site and constructs a shallow cup-shaped nest using plant material and down feathers.
A female Fulvous Whistling Duck typically lays around 8-12 eggs, with an average of 10 eggs per clutch. The eggs are creamy-white to pale brown in color. Incubation, which is primarily done by the female, lasts for about 24-30 days. The male may assist in incubation and guard the nest.
Once the eggs hatch, the female leads the ducklings to water within a day or two. The ducklings are precocial and capable of swimming and finding their own food shortly after hatching. They primarily feed on small invertebrates, seeds, and plant matter found in shallow water habitats. The parents provide protection and guidance to the young. The young Fulvous Whistling Ducks fledge at around 40-45 days after hatching. They become independent but may remain in family groups for some time.
While some populations are sedentary and do not migrate, others undertake seasonal movements in response to changes in water availability and food resources. Fulvous Whistling Ducks can be found in a variety of wetland habitats, including marshes, swamps, and rice fields. During the non-breeding season or winter, they may also utilize coastal estuaries, mangroves, and other shallow water bodies.