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Fulvous Whistling-Duck


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Fulvous Whistling-Duck Photo

One of the most widespread species of waterfowl in the world, the Fulvous Whistling-Duck has a limited distribution in the southern United States. Its mostly seed-based diet makes it fond of rice-growing areas.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
17.3–20.1 in
44–51 cm
21–34 oz
595–964 g
Other Names
  • Fulvous Tree-Duck (English)
  • Dendrocygne fauve, Millouin du Mexique (French)
  • Chiquiote, Algarabia, Pato silvon, Pato silbon, Pato amarillo, Pikike canelo (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • In some ways, whistling-ducks act more like swans than ducks. The male helps to take care of the offspring and a mated pair stays bonded for many years.
  • Pesticides applied to rice in the 1960s caused declines in Texas and Louisiana populations. Numbers have recovered and stabilized since then.
  • The Fulvous Whistling-Duck is a frequent nest parasite, laying eggs in other Fulvous Whistling-Duck nests, as well as the nests of other duck species. These other duck species often lay their eggs in Fulvous Whistling-Duck nests as well.
  • Unlike many other ducks which have elaborate courtship displays, whistling-ducks appear to have none.
  • Other than in agricultural habitats, the Fulvous Whistling-Duck nests only rarely in the United States. It started breeding in the United States only in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, nesting in rice fields.
  • The oldest recorded Fulvous Whistling-Duck was a male, and at least 11 years, 2 months old when he was shot in Cuba in 2004. He had been banded in Florida in 1993.



  • Freshwater wetlands, especially shallow impoundments managed for rice. Also flooded grasslands and pasture.



Seeds of water plants, rice, aquatic invertebrates.


Nesting Facts
Egg Description
White to buffy white.
Condition at Hatching
Downy young leave the nest soon after hatching.
Nest Description

A simple bowl in dense floating or flooded emergent vegetation.

Nest Placement




No obvious courtship displays. Dabbles at and just below waterline. Makes shallow dives and tips-up. A filter-feeder, not a grazer.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

There is little information on Fulvous Whistling-Duck population size, but according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey, numbers on the continent remained stable between 1966 and 2015. The species rates an 8 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Fulvous Whistling-Duck is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List. Pesticide exposure may pose a risk to these ducks because of their close association with agriculture.


Range Map Help

Fulvous Whistling-Duck Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings


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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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