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Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Dendrocygna autumnalis ORDER: ANSERIFORMES FAMILY: ANATIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Photo

The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is a boisterous duck with a brilliant pink bill and an unusual, long-legged silhouette. In places like Texas and Louisiana, watch for noisy flocks of these gaudy ducks dropping into fields to forage on seeds, or loafing on golf course ponds. Listen for them, too—these ducks really do have a whistle for their call. Common south of the U.S., Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks occur in several southern states and are expanding northward.

Calls

A soft, high whistle with a long first note and several following notes. They give this call in flight, while standing, or while swimming. They also make a chit-chit-chit in flight or a yip when taking flight.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Backyard Tips

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks take readily to nest boxes. If you live within their range, you can make a nest box out of half-inch marine plywood. It should be about 24 inches high at the front and 20 inches at the back, with a hole about 5–6 inches in diameter (see Bolen 1967 in the Credits section of this account for full instructions).

Find This Bird

If you’re in the range of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks (and that range is expanding all the time—keep an eye on the species’ eBird map to see where they’ve been seen) you should be on the lookout for them perching around shallow ponds; walking in the short grass of lawns and golf courses; and especially in agricultural fields, where these large ducks eat lots of grain. They feed nocturnally, so watch around sunset for large flocks to begin flying out to fields from their roosts.

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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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