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Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in Florida.

The Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), formerly also called Black-bellied Tree Duck, is a whistling duck that breeds from the southernmost United States and tropical Central to south-central South America. In the USA, it can be found year-round in parts of southeast Texas, and seasonally in southeast Arizona, and Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. It is a rare breeder in such disparate locations as Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina, though it is now a common breeder in parts of central Florida. There is a large population of several hundred that winter each year in Audubon Park in uptown New Orleans, Louisiana. Since it is one of only two whistling-duck species native to North America, it is occasionally just known as the “whistling duck” in the southern USA. [Wikipedia]

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in Florida.

The Black-bellied Whistling Duck is a mid-sized waterfowl species. Length ranges from 47 to 56 cm (19 to 22 in). It has a long red bill, long head and longish legs, pale gray head and mostly gray-brown plumage. The belly and tail are black, and the body plumage, back of the neck and cap are a rich chestnut brown. The face and upper neck are gray, and they sport a thin but distinct white eye-ring. The extensive white in the wings is obvious in flight, less so on the ground; it is formed by the secondary remiges while the primaries are black; the wing-coverts are brown. Males and females look alike; juveniles are similar but have a gray bill and less contrasting belly.

As the name implies, these are noisy birds with a clear whistling waa-chooo call.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in Florida.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Facts [All About Birds]

  • The whistling-ducks were formerly known as tree-ducks, but only a few, such as the Black-bellied Whistling-Duck actually perch or nest in trees. They look most like ducks, but their lack of sexual dimorphism, relatively long-term pair bonds, and lack of complex pair-forming behavior more resembles geese and swans.
  • The oldest recorded Black-bellied Whistling Duck was a male, and at least 10 years, 7 months when it was found in Louisiana.
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