British Waterfowl Association

Plumed Whistling Duck

Group of Eyton's Whistling Ducks showing social behaviour
Plumed or Eyton's Whistling Ducks — Morag Jones
Plumed Whistling ducklings in an outdoor brooder
Plumed Whistling ducklings — Morag Jones

Dendrocygna eytoni

Plumed Whistling Ducks are an Australian species known in their homeland as ‘Grass Whistlers’. They do indeed love to graze and do not look out of place on a fine lawn. The other names they go by are Eyton’s Whistling or Eyton’s Tree Duck.

The increase in livestock grazing in Australia actually benefitted this species. More short grass and reliable water has given them a greater range.

Don’t be fooled by their medium size. These are pugnacious little chaps and sometimes go around in gangs terrorising other residents. Snooty ducks perhaps, but lovely even so; they are very elegant.

There must be some strains of better-mannered birds out there, as Frank Todd described them as docile. Take your pick!

Plumed Whistling Duck and duckling
Plumed Whistling Duck — Darren Williamson

These are not the most prolific of the whistling ducks. Breeding in any particular year is not guaranteed, though likely. In the wild, breeding is triggered by the rainy season. The usual clutch size is 8-14 eggs and they are incubated for 28 to 30 days.