Length: 16 - 20 inches
Weight: 2 lbs
Incubation: 26 - 30 days
Offspring: 10 - 12
Life Span: 15 years
Eyton's Tree Duck
Also Called: Plumed Tree Duck or Eyton's Whistling Duck
The Eyton's Tree Duck is known by several names. It is more commonly referred to as the Plumed Whistling Duck or Plumed Tree Duck. Unlike some other ducks, the plumage of the males and females are the same in coloration. Its most prominent feature is the long, tan-colored feathers, or "plumes", on its wings, which it is named for. The face, neck, and breast are light brown in color, and the back is medium brown. The tail is a darker shade of brown, and the wing feathers are chestnut brown with black bars at the front of its wings. Its bill is red with black spots and its legs and webbed feet are dark pink. Its eyes are a striking color of yellowish orange.
This duck species prefers plant material such as grasses, millet, rice, seeds, and rushes.
The Eyton's Tree Duck or Plumed Whistling Duck is found in the tropical grasslands of Northern and Eastern Australia and Tasmania, near rivers, swamps or lagoons.
Some of the creatures that prey on these ducks in the wild include foxes, owls, hawks, and humans.
Shy and wary by nature, these ducks are mostly nocturnal, or most active at night. This is the time that they gather into small groups and forage for food. During the day the ducks form larger groups, or flocks, and rest near or in the water, usually hidden by the tall grasses. They will often make nests in a tree cavity, or sometimes in the high grasses near the water's edge, using the grass to make a shallow bowl-shaped nest.
The breeding season for these ducks is late in the year, from September through December. Breeding usually takes place when the ducks are in their second year of life, or sometimes even in the first year. During the mating season the male ducks, or drakes, become aggressive towards other rival males and they will threaten one another constantly, or even fight each other for the right to mate with a chosen female. The female ducks lay 10 to 12 white-colored, smooth textured eggs. After 26 to 30 days of incubation by both the make and female, the eggs hatch. The ducklings are able to swim fairly soon after hatching. They are cared for and watched over by both parents until they are able to fend for themselves, when they become a regular part of the flock. Unlike some other birds, a duckling is not fed directly by its parents; rather it is shown where the food is, and with a little help from its parents it will feed by itself.
The most important senses for ducks are probably their sight and hearing, which warn them when danger is near. This species of duck often communicates with a loud whistling call, which is also another reason it's called a "whistling" duck.