Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)


West Indian Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna arborea)


French: Dendrocygne des Antilles German: Kubapfeifgans Spanish: Suirirí yaguaza
Other common names: West Indian Tree Duck

Anas arborea


, 1758,

America = Jamaica


Despite its quite different plumage pattern, has sometimes been considered perhaps closest to D. viduata. Hybridization in captivity with D. eytoni recorded. Monotypic.


Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Is, Greater Antilles and N Lesser Antilles (S to Dominica). Extirpated from several islands.

Descriptive notes

48–58 cm; male 760–1240 g, female 800–1320 g. Black-and-white ventral speckling becomes more streaky on flanks. Is slightly larger than D. bicolor... read more


Give five-syllable whistle in flight and when foraging, as well as harsh, high-pitched “peep” notes... read more


Occurs mostly in swamps and marshes surrounded by abundant tree cover, particularly mangroves, but... read more

Food and feeding

Primarily fruit (especially of royal palm, Roystonia regia), berries, seeds (especially of grasses) and grain, irregularly... read more


Season variable according to locality and might even be year-round on Jamaica and Caymans (albeit mainly in Apr–Sept on Grand Cayman... read more


Resident, with only minor local movements recorded, including between islands in the Bahamas; radio... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. CITES II. Population widely scattered, occurring in small groups; in process of major decline. During 1970s bulk of population reckoned to be on Hispaniola and... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). West Indian Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna arborea). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 30 March 2020).