Harteman Wildfowl, presented by Jan Harteman
The Fulvous Whistling Duck, also known as the Tree Duck, is the most commonly seen member of its genus in captivity. They are found on four continents: North and South America, Africa and Asia, yet there are no known subspecies. They often form very large groups, sometimes with other whistling duck species where ranges overlap. The sexes are similar, with males being somewhat larger and having a different call than the hens. Vent sexing is the best method to distingush the two.
Whistling ducks have a rather upright stance. They are an overall brown color, with black barring on the wings and shoulders; the neck has fine streaks of black, buff and white. Long white feathers on the flanks give the appearance of stripes. Their long, narrow bills are dark gray. The legs and huge feet are bluish gray.
Fulvous hens nest on the ground among thick reeds and vegetation, but will also use cavities like the Wood Duck and will use the same style of box. They lay 8 to 15 eggs per clutch and take about 24 to 26 days to hatch. Both parents will care for the ducklings that fledge in about 60 days.
They are not as hardy as other ducks, and their large feet are very susceptible to frostbite. Be sure to provide plenty of dry straw in the shelter.
Fulvous are well mannered ducks and get along well with other species, making them an excellent choice for a mixed collection. Their unusal whistling call might wake you up a time to go out and find a cat near the aviary, making them good watch ducks! Aviaries do not need to be very large, just provide plenty of perches for the flying birds to roost, they love it.
This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 1,300,000-1,500,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Above: Adult Fulvous whistling duck
Above: Calling Fulvous whistling duck and a Red-breasted goose (background).
Above: whistling ducks love to wade in shallow water.
Above: a Fulvous whistling duckling of one week of age.
Above: Fulvous whistling duck perching on some rock formation.
Above: Fulvous whistling duck bathing in slow motion