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Duck, White-faced Whistling

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Description

The white-faced whistling duck is a well-named duck, with a very distinctive white face that highly contrasts black and brown plumage on the rest of its body. This duck has a massive range, and there is some regional variation in how much white plumage is on the face and neck. There is no sexual dimorphism in this species—males and females look the same.

Cover Photo: Adult white-faced whistling duck filter feeding by Mark Pressler

Classification

Overview
The white-faced whistling duck is a bird in the Anseriformes, or waterfowl order. Their genus, Dendrocygna, is known as the whistling ducks, named for their high-pitched whistling calls. There are 8 different species of whistling duck in the world.
Class
Aves
Order
Anseriformes
Family
Anatidae
Genus
Dendrocygna
Species
D. viduata

Key Facts

Conservation Status
Least Concern
Lifespan
unknown in the wild, up to 12 years under human care, anecdotal reports up to 15 years
Height
1.2 – 1.6 ft (38 – 48 cm)
Weight
1.11 – 1.81 lbs (502 – 820 g)
Wingspan
2.8 – 3.1 ft (86 – 94 cm)

The IUCN Red List describes the white-faced whistling duck as a species of Least Concern, meaning conservationists around the world are not currently worried about the continuation of this species. Global populations are estimated to be increasing, at roughly 1.7 – 2.8 million individuals.

Social Life
These are very social ducks, and have been observed in flocks of thousands of individuals in preferred habitat.

Habitat and Range
White-faced whistling ducks are found in a wide variety of wetland habitat.

Interestingly, these ducks are widespread in both tropical eastern South America and sub-Saharan Africa. Individuals do not migrate between these 2 continents, and it is unclear as to which continent these ducks originated in or how they moved from one to the other.

Diet
White-faced whistling ducks are omnivores. They will eat a variety of plant matter including rice, seeds, and grass, as well as a number of different aquatic invertebrates such as insects, molluscs, and crustaceans.

Predators
With their wide range in both South America and Africa, these ducks likely have an extremely wide range of predators, from ocelots and black caiman to servals and Nile crocodiles.

Reproduction
Sexual Maturity: unknown, likely ~1 – 2 years
Breeding/Nesting Season: starts at beginning of rainy season, highly variable throughout range
Incubation: 26 – 28 days
Clutch Size: 4 – 13 eggs

Information

Description

The white-faced whistling duck is a well-named duck, with a very distinctive white face that highly contrasts black and brown plumage on the rest of its body. This duck has a massive range, and there is some regional variation in how much white plumage is on the face and neck. There is no sexual dimorphism in this species—males and females look the same.

Cover Photo: Adult white-faced whistling duck filter feeding by Mark Pressler

Classification

Overview
The white-faced whistling duck is a bird in the Anseriformes, or waterfowl order. Their genus, Dendrocygna, is known as the whistling ducks, named for their high-pitched whistling calls. There are 8 different species of whistling duck in the world.
Class
Aves
Order
Anseriformes
Family
Anatidae
Genus
Dendrocygna
Species
D. viduata

Key Facts

Conservation Status
Least Concern
Lifespan
unknown in the wild, up to 12 years under human care, anecdotal reports up to 15 years
Height
1.2 – 1.6 ft (38 – 48 cm)
Weight
1.11 – 1.81 lbs (502 – 820 g)
Wingspan
2.8 – 3.1 ft (86 – 94 cm)

The IUCN Red List describes the white-faced whistling duck as a species of Least Concern, meaning conservationists around the world are not currently worried about the continuation of this species. Global populations are estimated to be increasing, at roughly 1.7 – 2.8 million individuals.

Social Life
These are very social ducks, and have been observed in flocks of thousands of individuals in preferred habitat.

Habitat and Range
White-faced whistling ducks are found in a wide variety of wetland habitat.

Interestingly, these ducks are widespread in both tropical eastern South America and sub-Saharan Africa. Individuals do not migrate between these 2 continents, and it is unclear as to which continent these ducks originated in or how they moved from one to the other.

Diet
White-faced whistling ducks are omnivores. They will eat a variety of plant matter including rice, seeds, and grass, as well as a number of different aquatic invertebrates such as insects, molluscs, and crustaceans.

Predators
With their wide range in both South America and Africa, these ducks likely have an extremely wide range of predators, from ocelots and black caiman to servals and Nile crocodiles.

Reproduction
Sexual Maturity: unknown, likely ~1 – 2 years
Breeding/Nesting Season: starts at beginning of rainy season, highly variable throughout range
Incubation: 26 – 28 days
Clutch Size: 4 – 13 eggs

adult white-faced whistling duck

Adult white-faced whistling duck by Mark Pressler