Plumed Whistling-Ducks are medium-sized ducks with cream-coloured
to brown plumage,
with prominent plumes sticking out over the folded wings.
Head, neck and plumes are cream-coloured, the bill is only
slightly darker. The breast is brown, the mantle grey-brown,
while the belly is almost white. The eyes have brown irises,
the legs and feet are yellow.
Overall, the appearance of Plumed Whistling-Ducks is light-brown,
whereas the similar
Wandering Whistling-Duck is noticeably darker.
The overall distribution of this species can be assessed based
on sighting reports submitted by birdwatchers to
The global distribution of the Plumed Whistling-Duck is available
Plumed Whistling-Ducks are found only in Australia and in
southern, near-coastal New Guinea. There is an
introduced population on the North Island of New Zealand.
In Australia Plumed Whistling-Ducks populate the
entire northern coastline of
the continent and the northern inland, down to about
a line from Exmouth, WA, via Tennant Creek, NT, into QLD.
Down the eastern seaboard they are found all along Cape York, the
eastern half of QLD (occasionally also in the western part) and
the eastern parts of NSW and VIC (with the exception of a narrow
coastal fringe from about Sydney, NSW, to Melbourne, VIC).
Plumed Whistling-Ducks are highly nomadic. One day there may be a
flock of 200 somewhere, the next day they are all gone. When
water is scarce, they may stick around for lack of anywhere else
Click here for sighting information
We first spotted Plumed Whistling-Ducks in January 2009, when
a flock of about 50 birds was spotted by us on a farm dam about 20 km North of
The summer of 2011/12 saw many Plumed Whistling-Ducks in inland
NSW. We spotted a flock of about 200 birds at Kenebri, NSW, in
December 2011. More birds were seen in the same timeframe in the
township of Narrabri and at Eulah Creek,
20 km East of Narrabri. Since then we find them in inland NSW
very infrequently and irregularly, but always in substantial
Hundreds were seen in July 2009 on a pond in an urban
in South Rockhampton, QLD.
C. Hayne reports seeing huge flocks of several hundred birds in
wetlands, including Whittaker's Lagoon, near
Moree, NSW, on various occasions. In 2014 a flock of 200 stayed
in the township for an extended period of time.
In December 2014 a flock of Plumed Whistling-Ducks was spotted
on a small dam at
the Burren Junction Bore Bath.
J. Greaves and H. Mouritsen report spotting flocks of hundreds
of Plumed Whistling-Ducks in various parts of the Top End of the
NT, e.g. at Yellow Water
J. Ross-Taylor reports spotting Plumed Whistling-Ducks in a
with wetland on the Gold Coast, QLD, in May 2015.
These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our
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please refer to a field guide.
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