Fun Lesser Whistling Duck Facts For Kids

Tanya Parkhi
Oct 20, 2022 By Tanya Parkhi
Originally Published on Aug 30, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Here are some lesser whistling duck facts you will love!
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.6 Min

The lesser whistling duck (Dendrocygna javanica) is a species of whistling duck that can be found inhabiting wetlands and marshy fields in Asia, mostly in India and its surrounding countries. This duck can be identified due to its two-toned, whistling call and its distinct warm brown appearance which sets it apart from other whistling duck species.

They can be seen flocking in small groups during the daytime, waddling along the shallow marshes, and picking at mud in order to find worms and other creatures. They eat their fill of rice grains from paddy fields as well, making them omnivorous in nature.

They are also nocturnal feeders, feeding in the dark before retiring to their tree cavity nests or branches.

Though they are known to look very similar to their larger cousin, the fulvous whistling duck, they can be told apart by their size and the color of their rumps, with the lesser whistling duck species being smaller and having a chestnut-colored rump as opposed to the fulvous duck's cream-colored one.

To learn more about this whistling bird, read on! For more relatable content, check out these ring-necked duck facts and muscovy duck facts.

Lesser Whistling Duck Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a lesser whistling duck?

The lesser whistling duck (Dendrocygna javanica) is a type of waterfowl that belongs to the duck family Anatidae.

What class of animal does a lesser whistling duck belong to?

The lesser whistling duck belongs to the class of Aves.

How many lesser whistling ducks are there in the world?

Though the exact number of these birds is unknown, their current global population is thought to be between 2-20 million.

Where does a lesser whistling duck live?

The lesser whistling duck (Dendrocygna javanica) can be found distributed across Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

What is a lesser whistling duck's habitat?

The lesser whistling duck is mostly found in tropical and subtropical climates. It is a mostly freshwater duck species residing in inland paddy fields, marshes, wetlands, and grasslands.

This duck is rarely found in forests but can be spotted in abundance in leafy mangroves connected to the sea. It can also be found near marshy lakes, building its nest in tree hollows or even on the ground.

Who do lesser whistling ducks live with?

Lesser whistling ducks can be found waddling about wet paddy fields and marshes in small flocks during the day. During the breeding season, they nest in pairs, mostly reusing the old nests of kites and herons in tree hollows, forked branches, or on the ground.

How long does a lesser whistling duck live?

Birds of the lesser whistling duck species have been observed to live for up to nine years of age.

How do they reproduce?

Lesser whistling ducks are oviparous in nature and their young are born from eggs laid by the female. During the mating season which occurs during the rainy season from July to August, these birds pair up and lay their eggs in hollow tree cavities or nests abandoned by kites and herons.

They lay about 7-12 eggs at a time that take 22-24 days to hatch after incubation. The brood can be observed as a family, with the parents often carrying their young on their backs.

What is their conservation status?

As these birds are quite common and have a vast population, they have been listed as a species of Least Concern according to the IUCN Red List. There is no concern of them being endangered at the moment.

Lesser Whistling Duck Fun Facts

What do lesser whistling ducks look like?

These long-necked ducks can easily be identified because of their caramel-colored bodies. Their wings are dark brown with the wing feathers being tipped with orange-brown, giving them a ripple effect.

Another distinctive feature they have is their chestnut rump. Younger birds have white patches on their bodies which darken as they age. They have black wings and bills, and dark brown or black eyes.

The lesser whistling duck appearance is similar for both male and female birds of this species

How cute are they?

These ducks are quite cute, with their warm brown color scheme being very easy on the eyes. They are very attractive birds, with the pattern on their wings being quite beautiful.

How do they communicate?

Lesser whistling ducks can be identified due to their distinct, wheezy two-note bird call. True to their name, the lesser whistling duck sound is whistling in nature, reported to sound like 'seasick-seasick'.

How big is a lesser whistling duck?

On average, the lesser whistling duck measures 16.5 in (42 cm) from beak to tail. They are approximately the same size as another similar bird, the ring-necked duck species.

How fast can a lesser whistling duck move?

Though the exact speed of the lesser whistling duck species is unknown, we do know that most waterfowls including ducks have a flight speed falling in the range of 40-60 mph (64.4-96.6 kph).

How much does a lesser whistling duck weigh?

Lesser whistling ducks have been observed to weigh between a range of 19.4-21.2 oz (550-600 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female ducks are referred to as drakes and hens respectively.

What would you call a baby lesser whistling duck?

Lesser whistling duck babies are called ducklings or hatchlings.

What do they eat?

This duck species is omnivorous in nature and the birds are known as nocturnal feeders, meaning they feed at night. They can be seen rummaging through soft riverbeds, digging out worms, mollusks, and other soft invertebrates, along with small fish and frogs.

Another main staple in their diet is rice, which can be found abundantly in paddy field plantations where these birds make their home.

Are they dangerous?

Though whistling duck birds are not dangerous in nature, they are known to be quite aggressive during the breeding period.

Would they make a good pet?

Due to the wild nature of this bird species as well as social behavior that warrants the need to stay in flocks, these birds can be high maintenance. Their natural habitat of marshy wetland cannot be recreated in an urban environment and this makes it difficult to domesticate them.

However, they have been observed to become very tame when trained, though it is better to let them live in their natural habitat due to their wild nature.

Did you know...

Parents can often be seen carrying baby ducklings on their backs.

They are also called 'sili' and 'silhahi' in India, named after their distinct two-note call.

The lesser whistling duck (Dendrocygna javanica) is also called the Indian whistling duck, due to it being commonly found all over India.

Are lesser whistling ducks migratory?

These birds are mostly residential and cannot be seen migrating over long distances. As the Indian subcontinent has warm or mild weather all year round, they do not need to relocate due to extreme weather conditions.

Only birds residing in colder mountain areas such as northeast India and near the Himalayas tend to fly slightly south until the winter tides over.

Why are they called lesser whistling ducks?

The lesser whistling duck (Dendrocygna javanica) is named after the two-toned, whistling call it makes. The 'lesser' part of its name refers to its size- distinguishing it from its similar-looking albeit slightly larger relative, the fulvous whistling duck.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our harlequin duck surprising facts and crested duck interesting facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable lesser whistling duck coloring pages.

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Written by Tanya Parkhi

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Tanya Parkhi picture

Tanya ParkhiBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Tanya is a skilled content creator with a passion for writing and a love for exploring new cultures. With a degree in Economics from Fergusson College, Pune, India, Tanya worked on her writing skills by contributing to various editorials and publications. She has experience writing blogs, articles, and essays, covering a range of topics. Tanya's writing reflects her interest in travel and exploring local traditions. Her articles showcase her ability to engage readers and keep them interested.

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