Wandering Whistling Duck

The Wandering Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata) is a captivating waterfowl species native to Australia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Also known colloquially in Northern Territory, Australia as “red whistler,” this medium-sized duck is recognized for its distinctive markings, unique vocalizations, and nomadic habits.


Wandering Whistling Duck
Wandering Whistling Ducks


Adult Wandering Whistling Ducks display a striking appearance with a mottled brown and white plumage. Notable features include a bold white eye-ring and distinct facial markings, enhancing their visual appeal. The wings are adorned with contrasting black primary feathers. Elongated flank feathers about half as long as their plumed whistling duck associates, and not nearly as distinctive. Unlike traditional quacking ducks, these birds are known for their soft, whistling calls, contributing to their name.

Wandering Whistling Ducks inhabit a variety of wetland habitats, including freshwater lakes, ponds, and marshes. Their range spans from Australia and Southeast Asia to the Indian subcontinent. These ducks exhibit a nomadic lifestyle, often moving in response to changing water levels and food availability.


Northern Territory Australia Sunrise
Grassland habitat in Northern Territory, Australia where whistling ducks and magpie geese are hunted.


Primarily herbivorous, Wandering Whistling Ducks feed on aquatic plants, seeds, and small invertebrates. Their feeding behavior involves dabbling and grazing on the water’s surface, utilizing their specialized bills to filter and sift through food particles.