Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Whistling duck

The whistling ducks or tree ducks are a subfamily, Dendrocygninae of the duck, goose and swan family of birds, Anatidae. They are not true ducks. In other taxonomical approaches, they are either considered a separate family "Dendrocygnidae", or a tribe "Dendrocygnini" in the goose subfamily Anserinae (e.g. Terres & NAS, 1991).

The subfamily has one genus, Dendrocygna, which contains eight living species, and one known from hitherto undescribed subfossils from Aitutaki, Cook Islands (Steadman, 2006). These species have a worldwide distribution through the tropics and subtropics. These ducks have, as their name implies, distinctive whistling calls.

The whistling ducks have long legs and necks, and are very gregarious, flying to and from night-time roosts in large flocks. Both sexes have the same plumage, and all have a hunched appearance and black underwings in flight.