Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Fulvous Whistling-Duck - Dendrocygna bicolor
Search Common:                 Search Scientific:
General Comments The Fulvous Whistling-Duck is a strongly declining species, no longer nesting in California and now nesting mainly along the coasts of Louisiana and Texas, sparingly in Florida. In North Carolina, it is a formerly rare and declining late fall transient, sparingly occurring in the winter and spring. It was certainly more numerous and/or widespread in the 1960's and 1970's, up through about 1982; there have been hardly any records since 2000, and thus is to be considered now as a casual visitor. In fact, the Chat database shows the last NC record being on 1 Jan 2001 -- over 20 years ago! It occurs/occurred mainly at impoundments and ponds with extensive fresh water marshes, for cover.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SZ
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Transient and winter visitor, mainly along the coast; now of casual occurrence. Formerly (prior to about 1980) a rare to uncommon fall migrant, and a rare winter visitor (with records scattered over the entire year), along the coast and in parts of the tidewater area; casual to very rare farther inland. Since 1980, generally a very rare to formerly rare coastal visitor, mainly in late fall (late Oct through Dec), straggling into late winter and spring; casual farther inland. Records for all months but May. Most records are clustered around large freshwater ponds at refuges or other public lands with much marsh vegetation, often at man-made impoundments. Casual inland in the province, with only 5-6 records -- Delco (Columbus), Lenoir, Goldsboro (twice), Rocky Mount, and Lake Phelps -- from 4 Nov to 1 Feb. Peak counts: 61, Lake Mattamuskeet, 25 Nov 1989; 55 at Swan Island (Currituck), 19 Oct 1960.
Piedmont Accidental migrant, so far known only from the eastern edge of the region. Two records are an amazing flock of 11 near Raleigh from 1-8 May 1975, and one from Falls Lake on 7 Nov 1985.
Mountains No records.
Finding Tips North Carolina had its last report of this species way back in early 2001. Unlike other rare waterfowl, this species may occur in flocks of up to several dozen birds. They are/were annoyingly difficult to find by birders; some are at remote impoundments reached only by boat, and others may be at private hunting preserves. No place is consistently reliable for Fulvous Whistling-Duck. Most birders in the state have yet to see it here.
1/2 *
Attribution LeGrand[2023-03-01], LeGrand[2020-04-15], LeGrand[2018-02-01]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.