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Birds of Kadamakkudy – Lesser whistling duck (Dendrocygna javanica)

The lesser whistling duck (Dendrocygna javanica), also known as Indian whistling duck or lesser whistling teal, is a species of whistling duck that breeds in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. They are nocturnal feeders that during the day may be found in flocks around lakes and wet paddy fields. They can perch on trees and sometimes build their nest in the hollow of a tree. This brown and long-necked duck has broad wings that are visible in flight and produces a loud two-note wheezy call.

Lesser whistling duck are usually in fond of company. They feed mainly on plants taken from the water as well as grains from cultivated rice apart from small fish, frogs and worms.They dabble as well as dive in water. They will often waddle on the land and common mynas have been noted to follow them. Courtship involves the male facing the female and dipping and raising its bill in the water and swimming around the female.They breed during the rainy season and may vary locally in relation to the food availability. The nest site may be a tree hole lined with twigs and grass or built in the fork of a large tree, sometimes reusing an old nest of a kite or heron or even on the ground. The clutch varies from 7 to 12 white eggs that are incubated by both the parents.  The eggs hatch after about 22–24 days. More than one brood may be raised in a single season.Young birds may sometimes be carried on the back of the parents.

In Malayalam, the local language of Kerala, they are called ‘Eranda’.

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