British Waterfowl Association

Lesser Whistling Duck

Family group of Lesser (Javan) Whistling ducks with newly hatched ducklings
Family of Lesser (or Javan) Whistling Ducks - Barry Nicolle

Dendrocygna javanica

A native of the Indian subcontinent and South-east Asia, the Lesser or Javan Whistling Duck is the smallest of the group. They favour wetland habitat around lakes and paddy fields.

The key identification feature is the pale ring around the eye and small size. This charming bird deserves to be more widely kept, it will become very tame and with steady pair bonds rarely becomes quarrelsome.

Provided they always have open water for swimming and bathing they fare well. Supplementary heat can be provided in harsh weather as with all the whistling ducks, dry frost-free substrate will avoid potential frostbite.

group of Javan (Lesser) Whistling ducklings on a yellow towel
Lesser Whistling ducklings - Rosemary Sharpe

Lesser Whistling Ducks can have several clutches a year and despite their small size the incubation period is long, 30 days or so. 8 – 12 eggs at a time.