Bird of the Week: Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, formerly known as Black-bellied Tree Ducks, are one of two whistling duck species found in Texas (the other being the Fulvous Whistling Duck). These ducks are unusual for a few reasons: visually, they stand out, as they are very erect, standing on long legs. They also have bright pink bills– and, of course, black ‘bellies’. Noisy and social, these birds can often be seen perching in dead trees. They are nocturnal feeders with a diet consisting primarily of grains. They are monogamous and nest in tree cavities or nest boxes near small bodies of water. While south Texas is one of their main breeding grounds, they are moving farther and farther north seasonally due to their ability to adopt human-altered habitat. As their name implies, they can be recognized by their pleasant whistling chatter– listen here!
Compiled by Marc Frazier. Sources include the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society.
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