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Fulvous Whistling-Duck
Dendrocygna bicolor

Fulvous Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor). Picture at Gardens at Crandon Park Foundation, Miami, Florida, 2001.
Fulvous Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor)


The Fulvous Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor) is natural to the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Its distribution in North America extends as far north as the southern coastal regions of the United States; including the coasts of California, the state of Texas, the coasts of Louisiana and there is a population in the state of Florida. In México it is found on the coastal zones on both oceans. During summer to the north some reach southern Canada and to the south some make it to Central America going as far as Nicaragua. It is also native in the Caribbean islands and the Bahamas.

In South America this whistling-duck is found to the north of the continent. On the western slope of the Andes it is present as far south as Peru. On the eastern slope it is found from the coast of southern Brazil to Paraguay and Bolivia, and south to northern Argentina. It is absent in the Amazon Basin. During summer some go as far north as Panama. At this time of the year some make it to central Chile and central Argentina.

In Africa it is natural in the equatorial region immediately south of the Sahara Desert. Continues south on the eastern part of the continent. It is also present on Madagascar.

In Asia it is native to India, including the island of Sri Lanka. Its presence continues to Myanmar.

There is a population in Hawaii.


Some populations are sedentary, other appear to displace to spend winter in different locations from the ones where they nest, but not too far. The ones nesting in Texas and Louisiana spend the winter in the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Mexico.


Documented from sea level to 1000 meters of elevation.


This whistling-duck shows preference for lakes, swamps and fields covered with water. It is found in freshwater and brackish water. It is common in dense vegetation, mainly low bush rather than trees.


It forms flocks made up of its own species and other whistling-ducks. In these groups can be as many as 50 individuals, in some cases going up to as many as 500.


Nesting is done in well spread out colonies, once a year. In great part of its distribution it nests on the ground, among the different types of vegetation. Shows preference for the fields covered with water, such as the rice plantations. Reported to also nest in holes in trees, although there is dough. The nest is cup-shaped built with grass. Laying starts before the nest is finished. Down is not added.

A full clutch is six to sixteen eggs very light cream in color. Once laying starts an egg is deposited every day. Not rare are the clutches where more than one female has participated. A clutch with 62 eggs is recorded. These excessive clutches are suspected to be where females lay because they have to, but the clutch itself is not incubated nor taken care of. The eggs of this whistling-duck have also been found in some duck's nests.

Incubation is done by both parents and it takes from 24 to 26 days. Both parents also take care of the chicks. The young are able to fly at 63 days after hatching. They breed at one year of age. It is possible that the pair mates for life or at least the bond appears to be very strong.

Fulvous Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor). Picture taken in Gardens at Crandon Park Foundation, Miami, Florida, 2001.
Fulvous Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor)


The Fulvous Whistling-Duck shows a preference for rice. It also eats seed of other plants, aquatic vegetation and aquatic insects. Eats during the day and during the night.


The sexes have similar plumage. The adults reach a length from 48 and 53 cm (about 19 to 21 inches) and a weight between 590 and 770 grams (1.3 to 1.7 pounds). The wing span is from 85 to 93 cm (about 34 to 36.5 inches).


Molt is once a year. In North America is during fall. During this time it can not fly for about three weeks.


The Fulvous Whistling-Duck is also called “Fulvous Tree-Duck”.
In Spanish is called “Yaguasa Bicolor”, also:
    Argentina: “Sirirí Colorado”.
    Chile: "Pato Silbón".
    Cuba: “Yaguasa Mexicana” & “Yaguasín”.
    Dominican Republic: “Yaguasín”.
    Mexico: “Pijiji Canelo”, “Pato Pijije Alioscuro”, “pijía”, “serrano” & “pato silvón”.
    Puerto Rico: “Chiriría Bicolor”.
    Uruguay: “Pato Silbón”.

Our thanks to
Gardens at Crandon Park Foundation, Miami, Florida, USA
for allowing us to take pictures in their gardens.

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Last revision: March 1, 2007
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