Elliptic jets have decided advantages for technological applications over circular jets; this paper explores further advantages achieved by jet forcing due to self-excitation. Using hot-wire measurements and flow visualization, we have studied an elliptic whistler (i.e. self-excited) air jet of 2 :1 aspect ratio which, in contrast to an elliptic jet issuing from a contoured nozzle, displays no axis switching, but significantly increased spread in the major-axis plane. Its near-field mass entrainment is considerably higher (by as much as 70%) than that of a non-whistling jet. Flow visualization reveals unexpected dynamics of the elliptic vortical structures in the whistler jet compared to that in the non-whistling jet. Vortices rolled up from the lip of the elliptic pipe impinge onto the collar, producing secondary vortices; interaction of these two opposite-signed vortices is shown to cause the different behaviour of the whistler jet.