Wandering Whistling Ducks

Wandering Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna arcuata)

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

Close up of Wandering Whistling Ducks
Close up of Wandering Whistling Ducks


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 on a Branch
Wandering Whistling Ducks on a Branch


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.


  • 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)

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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