BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING DUCK

BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Black-bellied Whistling Duck adult has a black belly and rump, a rusty brown breast and neck, bright pink bill and pink legs. The face, throat and neck sides are grey, and they have a dark brown stripe that starts from the top of the head going down to the back. There’s a white ring around the eye. The wing secondaries are light grey. They have long legs and a long neck, and look like geese in this way. Sexes look similar. They are around 21 inches (50 cm) long.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Dendrocygna-autumnalis – this duck species does not quack, but whistles instead (hence the name).
NAME: ‘Duck’ is from Anglo-saxon ‘duce’ and means ‘diver’. Latin species name ‘autumnalis’ refers to the duck’s diet in the fall.
HABITAT: Human-made environments such as golf courses, parks, cultivated fields, in addition to ponds and marshes.
DIET: Various plant material. Leftover seeds and grain in the fields in the fall.
BREEDING/NESTING: Contrary to other ducks, this species form monogamous pairs for years. It nests in cavities in trees, but also in buildings and nest boxes (hence the name ‘Tree Duck’). About a dozen white eggs are laid, incubated by both parents. Ducklings can feed themselves soon after hatching, but parents care for them. This duck practices ‘egg-dumping’, i.e. lays their eggs in other nests of their own species, and also of other duck species.
DISTRIBUTION: This bird is breeding in the southern USA, including Texas, but is found year-round in Florida and southward through northern Argentina.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-bellied_whistling_duck#/media/File:Dendrocygna_autumnalis_distribution_map.png
CONSERVATION: Although impacted by DDT some decades ago, numbers currently appear stable.
NOTES:Whistling ducks are not true ducks, not because they don’t quack (and won’t pass the ‘duck test’) – they whistle as their name implies – but for scientific, taxonomic reasons. Also contrary to true ducks, whistling duck males and females have similar plumage.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Fulvous Whistling Duck
REFERENCES: https://www.thespruce.com/black-bellied-whistling-duck-386362
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/black-bellied-whistling-duck
https://www.tn.gov/twra/wildlife/birds/waterbirds/black-bellied-whistling-duck.html (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency)
https://txtbba.tamu.edu/species-accounts/black-bellied-whistling-duck/ (Texas Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/1042/behavior/Black-bellied_Whistling-Duck.aspx
http://www.ducks.org/hunting/waterfowl-id/black-bellied-whistling-duck
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black-bellied_Whistling-Duck/id#
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-bellied_whistling_duck

Black-bellied whistling ducks - Rockport Country Club, TX - Feb. 26, 2017 - by Jodi Arsenault
Black-bellied whistling ducks – Rockport Country Club, TX – Feb. 26, 2017 – by Jodi Arsenault
Black-bellied whistling ducks - Rockport Country Club, TX - Jan. 31, 2017 - by Jodi Arsenault
Black-bellied whistling ducks – Rockport Country Club, TX – Jan. 31, 2017 – by Jodi Arsenault
Black-bellied whistling ducks - Rockport Country Club, TX -Feb. 17, 2017 - by Jodi Arsenault
Black-bellied whistling ducks – Rockport Country Club, TX -Feb. 17, 2017 – by Jodi Arsenault

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