The Plumed Whistling Duck bird, scientifically referred to as Dendrocygna eytoni, is a magnificent waterfowl member of the Anatidae family that is native to the wetlands of the Australian continent. The bird is characterized by its stunning plumed appearance, slim and elongated neck, robust and sturdy legs, and a distinctive loud whistling call that they make. They are known for their graceful flight, especially during migration, and their ability to move seamlessly both on land and in the water.
These ducks are usually found in pairs or groups of up to 30 birds near water bodies such as wetlands, lagoons, and freshwater lakes. They are known to feed on a range of soft aquatic plants, seeds, and insects either on land or by diving in shallow waters. Their slender wings help them to fly easily in the air, allowing them to travel long distances during migration.
The Plumed Whistling Duck bird is sexually dimorphic, with the males being slightly larger than the females. The male has striking dark gray or black feathers that cover almost the entire upper body, contrasting with their white underside. The distinctive plumed feathers of the males are primarily white and generally longer and more extensive than those of the females. Females are more muted in color, with a more brownish-black head and neck and black wings and back, while juveniles have gray-brown feathers.
In Australia, the Plumed Whistling Duck bird species is observed to nest in tree hollows or in the ground near the water with the first breeding season usually occurring between June and September. The female lays 7 to 16 eggs and takes turns incubating them with the male partner for about 28 to 30 days. The ducklings are taken care of by both parents and can swim and catch their food within a few days of hatching.
Like many other waterfowl species, Plumed Whistling Ducks have faced habitat loss and the destruction of their wetland habitats due to human activities, such as land development and logging. As a result, they are presently classified as a species of least concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Nonetheless, conservation efforts are still necessary to safeguard the species and protect their breeding and feeding habitats.