WHITE-FACED WHISTLING DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata) – (See images below)
The White-faced Whistling Duck is, as opposed to other birds on this page for Tanzania, a bird of both the Old and the New Worlds. It is indeed found in Africa south of the Sahara, but also in South America east of the Andes.
The first half of the face from the bill is white, and the top and back of the head are black, as well as the bill, which ends with a hook. The neck and breast are rufous brown, the back and wings brown and the sides finely striated brown and white. The legs are grey.
This species of whistling duck is very social and can be observed in groups of thousands. Their habitat encompasses bodies of fresh water, where they feed on plant material, especially seeds.
Whistling ducks are not true ducks, not because they don’t quack (and therefore 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.
NAME: The English name ‘Duck’ is from Anglo-saxon ‘duce’ and means ‘diver’.