Dendrocygna sp. ‘Aitutaki’

Cook Islands Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna sp.)

This species is known so far only from a single subfossil, a complete terminal phalanx of a third pes digit. 

This single remain points to a very large species, much larger than any other related species. [1]


The only other whistling duck species that is known to have at least historically bred withing the Polynesian region is the Wandering Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata ssp. pygmaea Mayr), that once inhabited the Fiji Islands, where it is, however, extinct now. 



[1] David W. Steadman: Extinct and extirpated birds from Aitutaki and Atiu, southern Cook Islands. Pacific Science 45(4): 325-347. 1991


Wandering Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata); nominate form (bird in the middle)

Depiction from: ‘John C. Phillips: A Natural History of the Ducks. Boston; Houghton Mifflin Company; 1922-1926’  

(public domain)


edited: 11.06.2020