Australian Bush Birds
Plumed Whistling Duck  -  Dendrocygna eytoni
Plumed whistling duck
Plumed Whistling Ducks with characteristic plumes. (Mackay, Queensland)
Plumed whistling duck Plumed whistling duck
Plumed Whistling Ducks (Mackay, Queensland)
map map The Plumed Whistling Duck - Dendrocygna eytoni - has an upright stance. Plumage is marked by long, upswept buff coloured plumes edged in black rising from the flanks. Legs and feet are pink, head and neck brown, bill is pink sometimes heavily mottled black on the upper surface, throat paler. Back feathers are dark brown edged buff, chest is pale brown very finely barred. Coverts are rufous edged black ahead of prominent buff plumes. Grows 40 to 60 centimetres. Females slightly smaller, marked as for males.

Inhabits grasslands near water, not far from swamps, lakes, floodplains or dams; occasionally in estuarine areas. Grazes mostly at night on short vegetation of plains and margins of wetlands; rests in large groups on the ground near water for most of the day.

Roosting flocks give an almost continuous chittering noise interspersed with high whistles. Alarmed flocks also whistle. Soft whistle used between nesting pairs. In flight, wind across the wings causes a different whistle.

A common bird which migrates to regions of optimum conditions.

The similar Wandering Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata) has shorter plumes and less erect stance.

Photographs taken at Mackay Caravan Park. The bottom photograph shows one of a group of ducks resting on the ground.