Spotted Whistling duck

Gevlekte fluiteend

Spotted Whistling duck (Dendrocygna guttata)

The Spotted Whistling duck (Dendrocygna guttata) is a whistling duck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
Gevlekte fluiteend
English name:
Spotted Whistling duck
German name:
French name:
Dendrocygne tacheté
Scientific name:
Dendrocygna guttata

Scientific classification




Face and foreneck grey, black around eyes continuing forwards to bill, blackish line along crown and continuing down hindneck. Breast and flanks chestnut with small white spots on the breast, larger spots outlined in black on the flanks extending to mottled tail coverts. Abdomen and ventral area white. Upperparts and tail dark brown with Rufous edges to feathers. Wings dark brown. Bill of male Reddish grey and eyes (Iris) dark brown. 

As male with no apparent plumage or soft –parts differences.

Has duller coloring, lacks white spotting on the breast and the flanks appear streaked rather than spotted.


Spotted whistling-ducks can be aggressive particularly to other whistling-ducks and are one of the least hardy of the whistling ducks. Gregarious. Feed and roost in groups. 

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the Spotted Whistling duck measures approximately 42-50 centimeters. The female measures approximately 42-50 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 725-950 gram. The female will weight about 725-950 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!

Whistling-ducks generally do well, either in pens or in a park with access to extensive water area and good natural cover. They are gregarious outside the breeding season, and groups may bully smaller duck species, so should be kept in large areas, in which other birds have room to escape. Most need shelter in severe weather and a well-sheltered pen with frost-free night quarters for winter is suggested, or plenty of ground cover and/or straw to stand on, as they are susceptible to frostbite. They may be kept fully-flighted in aviaries, and have also been kept full-winged in open pens, tending not to wander. Perches should be provided at an appropriate height for pinioned or wing-clipped birds. Commercial pellets and grain are suitable for feeding.

Elevated nest boxes are appreciated by most species, although pinioned birds will use ground-level boxes; boxes may be placed over water or land. Eggs may be incubated by bantams and ducklings may be bantam-reared. Many species have been successfully parent-reared in captivity. Pairs kept isolated and fully flighted in a covered pen, with high-hung nest boxes "seldom fail to rear broods". Whistling-duck species may hybridise with one another and therefore should be kept in separate enclosures, and hybridisation has also occasionally been reported with Rosy-billed pochard (Netta peposaca).

Spotted whistling-ducks are not common in collections; they can be aggressive particularly to other whistling-ducks and are one of the least hardy of the whistling ducks.

This species is rarely bred. They may nest in a ground level or raised nest box and usually lay their eggs in May to June.


The female Spotted Whistling duck usually lays from 10-12 creamy white eggs and incubates them for 28-31 days.

Artificial incubating:

The ideal relative humidity for incubating most waterfowl eggs is 55% (ground nesters) and 40% (cavity nesters). The temperature is usually 37.4°C. Set ventilation as recommended by the incubator manufacturer. Eggs must be turned, either automatically or by hand, a minimum of 4 times a day. As the duckling develops there is a loss of water from the egg and the air sac gets bigger. In normal development of an egg with a 28-31 days incubation, the air sac occupies about a third of it three days earlier. Cleanliness is vital and ideally eggs should be moved to a separate hatcher at this point, where the humidity should be increased to 65% and even higher once they have pipped internally.

Bird banding:
Recommended closed leg band ring size for the Spotted Whistling duck is 11 mm.
The leg band ring can only be applied on a young whistling duck at around 12-14 days old.

It doesn't matter what leg that you band, but it's good to have a consistent system.
Suggested: Left leg = Female, Right leg = Male
Maintenance food:
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Floating full food for all sea ducks, green ducks, eider ducks and geese, especially in the moulting and breeding phase ideally suited. Packed with wholesome raw materials, natural vitamins and trace elements, this performance food with a protein content of 30% forms the basis for lifelong vitality.

Photos of the Spotted Whistling duck