White-Faced Whistling-Duck

Details About The White-Faced Whistling-Duck

  • General Information

    White-Faced Whistling-Ducks have long legs, their wings, neck, and tail are black, and they have a chestnut colored body. The sides of their bodies have black and white striping, and their beak and legs are gray.

    Latin Name: Dendrocygna viduata

    Class: Aves

    Order: Anseriformes

    Family: Anatidae

    Length: 15-19 inches

    Weight: 1-2 lb

    Wingspan: 18 inches

    Common Name: Whistling duck, tree duck

    Etymology: Dendrocygna comes from the Latin “Dendron”, which means a tree, and “Cygnus”, meaning a swan.

  • Flight, Voice & Habitat

    The broad wings of a White-Faced Whistling-Duck make it an excellent, albeit slow flyer.  They are agile in flight and can be seen perched in trees.

    White-Faced Whistling-Ducks have a distinct three note call that sounds like a whistling noise.

    White-Faced Whistling-Ducks inhabit freshwater habitats such as swamps, lakes, large rivers, and flood plains. They prefer habitats in open country, with mud, sandbars, and vegetation present.

  • Nesting

    White-Faced Whistling-Ducks will nest in solitary pairs, small groups, or even in colonies. They nest in small depressions in the ground surrounded by tall grasses or reeds. In parts of their range, White-Faced Whistling-Ducks will also nest in crevices in trees. 4-13 eggs are laid each year, and chicks fledge 8 weeks after hatching. Nesting season starts at the beginning of the rainy season. When the season is finished, adult White-Faced Whistling-Ducks undergo a flightless molt period that can last from 18 to 25 days.

  • Distribution

    White-Faced Whistling-Ducks can be found in Central and South America, as well as in parts of Africa. Their range is large; in the Americas they can range from Costa Rica to Venezuela. White-Faced Whistling-Ducks are found south of the Sahara Desert, to Ethiopia, all the way down to South Africa and even into Madagascar.

  • Food

    White-Faced Whistling-Ducks fly to foraging areas and feed on grasses, seeds, and will even dive into the water to eat molluscs.

  • Fun Facts & Other Interesting Information

    White-Faced Whistling-Ducks are highly social and will forage in flocks of up to several thousand birds. They are also called “tree ducks” because they perch high in trees more often than other duck species. They even have small claws on the end of their webbed feet to provide more stability in tree branches.