Commonly known as tree-ducks, whistling-ducks is a far more fitting name, because a few species never perch in trees, and the highly vocal birds are renowned for their loud, repetitious, multisyllabic whistles that are reminiscent of twittering songbirds. Primarily warm lowland ducks, a number are essentially nocturnal and while some are arboreal, others are basically terrestrial. Anatomical and behaviorally more like swans and geese than typical ducks, all whistling-ducks are in the genus Dendrocygna, a name that literally translates to “tree-swan”. They have long necks and legs, and their large feet are armed with sharp claws. Legs located close to the center of the body give the ducks a very erect posture, and they walk with grace. Short, broad, rounded wings with primaries and secondaries of nearly equal length typify all species. Whistling-ducks dive well and swim low in the water with heads held high. They are mainly gregarious and gather in dense feeding and roasting flocks. Primarily vegetarian, the ducks feed on seeds, grains, sedges, grasses, aquatic plants, bulbs, tubers, berries and fruit. Their diet also consists of aquatic insects, larvae, small snails and crustaceans. Their pair bonds extend beyond one season. They nest in a variety of sites ranging from concealed ground nests to tree cavities or other hollows, and even large arboreal bird nests. Both sexes incubate and are very protective of offspring. The incubation period averages 27-32 days, with drakes possibly assuming the greater role.