Dendrosygna javanica, Lesser Whistling Duck, Belibis Batu

Written by on November 19, 2010 in Indonesia Bird with 0 Comments

Dendrosygna javanica, Lesser Whistling Duck, Belibis Batu

Called whistling ducks because of their call, they are also some  Dendrosygna javanica, Lesser Whistling Duck, Belibis Batu times called tree ducks because they sometimes nest in tree holes!
Lesser Whistling Ducks eat mostly water plants, nibbling on their seeds and shoots. They also snack on insects and aquatic invertebrates.
lesser whistling duck on water. Lesser Whistling Ducks eat aquatic vegetation by dabbling on the water surface in shallow water. Like other waterfowl, they have a highly sensitive, fleshy tongue which has a spiny surface. To efficiently sift for edible titbits, the tongue is worked against rows of horny lamellae that line the mandibles. This produces the typical chattering sound of feeding waterfowl. They also dive frequently for underwater titbits. Lesser Whistling Ducks feed mostly at night, in small family groups.

Shy and nervous, they fly off at the slightest hint of danger. A flock will fly quickly, and in a direct manner, usually in chevron formation. This duck flies like a goose with its long neck sticking out and drooping below the body, and wings beating rapidly.

Lesser Whistling Ducks are different from other ducks in having longer legs, a squarish head and an erect goose-like posture when alert. Their wings are also rounder and broader. Unlike other ducks, males and females look similar, and there is no special breeding plumage.

Lesser Whistling Ducks prefer freshwater wetlands where their favourite food grows and where there is sufficient thick vegetation to hide in. They are mostly found in ponds, reservoirs, marshes, and rarely in brackish wetlands. In Sungei Buloh, they are found in the freshwater ponds of the Park.

Breeding: Lesser Whistling Ducks are the only ducks to breed in Singapore. A pair of courting Lesser Whistling Ducks will rush across the water erect, with one wing raised. Unlike other birds which only need cloacal contact, in waterfowl, the males have a distinct erectile penis. Mating often takes place with genitals underwater.

lesser whistling duck Lesser Whistling Ducks prefer a nest site near freshwater with dense vegetation nearby where their chicks can immediately reach the water after hatching. Usually in a bed of tall reeds, sometimes in a hollow log, or even an abandoned heron’s nest. They build a shallow cup of grass, on or close to the ground. They may rearrange surrounding vegetation to form a roof with a side-entrance. Sometimes they nest in trees. 10-12 creamy white eggs are laid. If the nest is closer to the ground, parents will distract predators by faking a broken wing and moving away from the nest

Migration: Most Lesser Whistling Ducks are resident, but in some places particularly in the past, numbers swell during winter, suggesting some degree of migration. They also do move from away from unsuitable habitats to more suitable ones.

Status and threats: They are threatened mainly by habitat loss, disturbance and poaching. They are also hunted: shot or caught by nets strung across ponds. Fortunately, they appear to take readily to suitable habitats, even those which are man-made (e.g., park ponds).

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