Lifescapes Gallery

7 / Apr / 2010
Whistler in the Woods
Lesser Whistling Duck, Kabini Photograph: Jayanth Sharma Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

Whistler in the Woods

One doesn’t know if it’s a sign of innate good cheer, or just a touch of genetic flirtatiousness, but there’s one denizen of the Kabini wetlands who always announces his arrival by whistling a happy tune. Not just a normal, workmanlike toot-toot, but a properly melodious three note composition, with the final note pitched high and drawn out, almost like an operatic tenor. While not shy of whistling at everyone else, the Lesser Whistling Duck or Indian Whistling Duck is a rather shy artiste who flees at the slightest hint of familiarity. There’s no way you can creep up on him, autograph book in hand, without causing him to rapidly take wing. With birds of his own feather, however, he’s a gregarious chap, and likes doing most things with his large brood of friends and family. He prefers dinner outings at freshwater ponds and marshes, where he can nibble at aquatic plants and sneak in the odd insect tidbit. The build up to dinnertime is mostly spent chattering noisily with his fellow whistlers, and flying around in goose formation, looking for places to hang out. In fact, unlike other ducks, they have longer legs and also affect a goose-like demeanor when alert. Continuing in this vein of contrarian duck behavior is a rather drab sartorial sense which has all whistlers, male or female, wearing the same unisex uniform, without making an exception even during courtship. But then, this (non)fashion mantra perhaps stems from the philosophy that when you can make such great music, you don’t have to make a great fuss about what you wear.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 at 9:30 am and is filed under Birds . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Dr. Jayesh Mehta says:

    Some form of a dance…well shot Sharmaji.

  2. kavitha K R says:

    Awesome photography….im sure resort must be an untouched nature!….pls mail these mailers to me too. I got this from a friend

  3. Parag Shah says:

    Great photos! After seeing the photos I’m tempted to see ur resort!

  4. Lasyadigvijay Digvijay says:

    WOW !

  5. Japit says:

    extravaganza. Great work…. 🙂

  6. Rajesh Pandey says:

    WOW… this is just wonderful… God bless you guys for bringing nature to us city dwellers every fortnight…

  7. Aarti says:

    hey Rajesh
    Enjoyed reading this and wow, the picture sure speaks more than a 10000words!!!

  8. H Natarajan says:

    Brilliant script! Rajesh, I think your writing skills deserves bigger platforms and a wider audience. And the lensmen Jayanth Sharma’s pix is of Nat Geo class! The script and pix are doing a brilliant jugalbandi! I liked what I read about Jayanth. It reminded me of the movie 3 Idiots. I hope more talented youngsters of our nation find the heart and guts to pursue their passion. Thanx Rajesh.

  9. Rohan says:

    nice picture !

  10. Giri Anand says:

    Interesting article – Indian Whistling Ducks. Typical DESI style. I find so many similarities between them & us desi folks….except for long legs & some do worry about what clothes to wear……

  11. tejas joseph says:

    great story, great they complement each other..?? am a little doubtful here! in some ways it’s a bit of a problem having an accomplished wordsmith add his flourishes to these pictures : tends to steal some of the artistic thunder, even divert attention! thank god there are folks out there who are more visually inclined (who believe a picture is worth a thousand words), unlike those (like me) who need a thousand words to ‘see’ a picture! however, kudos to both you guys – jayanth and rajesh – because it surely takes two to tango!!
    btw (as jose is already considering) it will be wonderful to have sound files of these Lifescapes featured birds and animals. can make for a very satisfying virtual (and near total) wildlife experience that can be had (for free) from the comfort and convenience( sometimes safety also) of one’s home or office.

  12. Sachin says:

    I have been getting these posts for several months and have loved every one of them. The photographs are amazing and the write-ups insightful. A treat for amateur naturalists.

  13. Devanand says:

    Rajesh “Neil French” Ramaswamy’s brilliant tongue-in-cheek humour truly whistles through the woods, and blows our minds away. The picture is awesome too. Looking forward to the next gem.

  14. Awanish says:

    Would want to buy a ticket to this orchestra…

  15. Shishir says:

    As always lovely photo and an even nicer write up. To add more reality to the whole experience why not think of adding sound byte’s as well. For example the whistling sound of the “Lesser Whistling Duck” etc.

    • Jose Ramapuram (Director - Marketing, Orange County Resorts) says:

      Dear Shishir & SuPa,

      Thank you for your comments that motivate the Lifescapes team to consistently raise the bar in terms of quality. Your suggestion about the link to a sound file is very valid and good. We really appreciate the suggestion. We are going to certainly try and find a source for bird & animal calls sound files to feature in future Lifescapes issues.

  16. Diwakaran Nair says:

    Photograph + Commentary = Speechless.
    The whole initiative continues to fascinate. When I look at the photo, I wonder if one duck is saying to the other..” If u do the Tango, I’ll whistle harder” ? And when I read the commentary I feel like whistling too…non-stop. Well done guys. Once again!!

  17. Dilip Halder says:

    Nothing to say. It’s amazing and perfect shot!

  18. Ravish says:

    Very nice picture.
    sorry i haven’t cared to read but i cudn’t resist..

  19. SuPa says:

    The ‘flight of the duck’ is great! A picture is worth a million words but with such a write up, make that two million for this delightful combination! So much is said about the ‘whistle’, wish there was a recording to playback – to complete the preview into what awaits one in Kabini!

  20. Mahesh Shantaram says:

    I always enjoy the pictures, but it’s not only about the pictures. The writer of this piece is also doing a fantastic job. His/her style comes across very clearly each time. So please give credit wherever it is due!

    • Diwakaran Nair says:

      From what I know, and i have been following this for a long time, the writer is only one person (correct me Orange County if i am in the wrong), called Rajesh Ramaswamy, and you will find his profile in the ‘contributors’ section, under ‘Editors’
      One suggestion to the guys behind Lifescapes: we’d love it if he can also come and interact with us on these pages…one more thing to think about guys??

      • Jose Ramapuram (Director - Marketing, Orange County Resorts) says:

        Dear Mr. Shantaram & Mr. Nair,

        Mr. Nair is right. Rajesh Ramaswamy is the one and only story teller for Lifescapes. His profile can be viewed at . I will try and do two things in response to your comments

        1. Find a way to give Rajesh the credit due to him for the outstanding quality stories that he consistently tells.
        2. Get Rajesh to interact more in the comments section

        Thank you for your suggestions. We really appreciate your valuable feedback.

  21. Sarath Champati says:

    Great picture and superb initiative!

  22. neel says:

    a superb picture to match the text. brilliant initiative – keep it up

  23. Jagadish.B.Machimanda says:

    Mind blowing picture and good write up.

  24. Hashim Tyabji says:

    What a wonderful photograph and I really do enjoy the story as well.

  25. haseeb khader says:

    awsome picture jayanth .

  26. Mithra Bindhu says:

    I appreciate the pictures – but love the style and wit in the articles. Please pass on my kudos to the person handling this news letter.
    Mithra Bindhu 🙂

  27. Hilton Doyle says:

    Hi, Thanks for the pics. Here in South Africa we have the white face whistling duck native to Kwa Zulu Natal.

  28. rajesh jaiswal says:

    it was a god gift,very beautiful.
    please keep sending the pictures!

    club mahindra, Varca beach, Goa

  29. SUDHAKAR RAO says:


  30. priya shaikh says:

    beautiful picture and a lovely account of the inert beauty of this flirtatious bird 🙂 Keep up the posts … I look forward to receiving them!

  31. Shalu Varadkar says:

    To know about some thing which we really dont know, is always a pleasure… Wonder, If anytime we can hear the whistle…or anytime we can see such nature, which Orange County always bring to us..

    Thanks for bringing such fresh stories..

  32. Gauri says:

    Humorously informative!

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