Fulvous Whistling Ducks: Dendrocygna bicolor
The fulvous whistling duck actually is more closely related to geese than to ducks. Fulvous whistling ducks have long legs and necks, which leads to a distinct profile when flying. When seen standing, they look more goose-like than duck-like. Male and female fulvous whistling ducks look alike, the head, chest and belly are tawny-brown and the wings and back are darker brown. They have a silvery border between the belly and wings formed by white tipped feathers and a blue-gray bill.
Separate populations of fulvous whistling ducks occur in Asia, Africa, Madagascar, South America, and North America. Prior to about 30 years ago, fulvous whistling ducks did not nest in Florida. Today, nesting fulvous whistling ducks are abundant in South Florida where rice is grown. In winter, many fly south, apparently to Cuba.
Lack of funds and personnel have prevented the Waterfowl Management Staff from extensively studying and managing these ducks. Since 1985, about 421 fulvous whistling ducks have been banded in Florida. We do not have an accurate estimate of the number of breeding fulvous whistling ducks in Florida.
To promote good management for fulvous whistling ducks (and mottled ducks, the Waterfowl Management Staff encourages shallow flooding of fallow agricultural fields and rice culture in place of sugar cane. Below are some pictures of fulvous whistling duck nests in flooded rice fields in the Everglades Agricultural Area of Florida.
Image Credit: Stamp art