Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Picture

A Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. We have also put together a list of fun Black-bellied Whistling-Duck T-shirts, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird-watching items.

About Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

This bird from the genus Dendrocygna and species autumnalis is a whistling Duck that breeds from the southernmost United States and tropical Central to south-central South America. In the southern U.S., it is just known as the “whistling duck” or “Mexican squealer”.

Description and Identification

The Black-Bellied Whistling Duck is a large-sized duck that is very similar to a Goose. They are native to North America and you can listen to them making strong whistle sounds which is why they are also called Mexican squealers. Looking at their body structure you’ll find that its neck and legs are unusually long whereas it has a short tail. During the flight, their wide wings and hunkered back can be observed. Both the male and the female ducks are about 47-51 centimeters in height. When in fact adult Ducks have chests and bodies that are covered in dark shades of chestnut along with their black bellies. They also have a grayish-white patch on the neck which is also present on their wings and consists of a bright pink bill and legs. However, the younger species do not have any sharp colors instead, they have faded dark brown bodies with no black belly, and have skin-colored legs with a black bill.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Color Pattern

These birds are dark overall: a chestnut breast and black belly are set off by a bright pink bill and legs, grayish face, and broad white wing stripe, also visible in flight. Immature ducks are duller than adults, with a dark bill, pale breast, and mottled black belly.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Size

The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is a large, Goose-like Duck with a long neck, long legs, and short tail. In-flight, look for their broad wings, long neck, and hunched back. Both sexes are a length of 18.5-20.1 inches and weigh 23-36 ounces.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Behavior

Do much foraging on land and may feed by day or night. Flocks come to harvested fields to feed on waste grain also to prairies and overgrown pastures. In shallow water, they may wade to reach emergent plants or may dabble at the surface or tip up to reach underwater.

These birds are spectacularly marked, sociable, and highly noisy waterfowls. Their high-pitched whistles can be heard from the feeding fields to roosting sites that they travel to and from.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Diet

The diet of the Whistling Duck is just like the rest of the duck species. An interesting fact of these Ducks is that they feed typically at night. They are mainly herbivores and enjoy as well as forage mostly on seeds of different types of grasses, marsh plants, seeds of smartweed, refined grains, and even grasses. Only a fraction of their nourishment incorporates insects, leeches, snails, and other kinds of invertebrates. Their diet consists of mainly seeds and grains. Insects, snails, and other invertebrates make up less than 10% of their diet.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Habitat

The Whistling Duck commonly inhabits areas such as shallow ponds, freshwater swamps, grasslands, farming fields particularly rice that is flooded with water. These ducks prefer vegetation that’s dense-packed with trees but also adapt to areas that are transformed by humans.

They roam edges of shallow ponds, golf courses, city parks, and schoolyards. They also frequent agricultural fields, particularly flooded rice fields. In addition to this, they readily adopt human-altered habitats (nest boxes).

Range and Migration

Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks are primarily prevalent and are known to breed in southerly regions of the United States, particularly in Mississippi as well as the coast of Central America and also in South America. However, its breeding range has risen significantly in the northward regions. You can also detect them in Atlantic Flyways in the summer. Whereas in the wintering seasons, they are observed to migrate towards Southern territories generally in the lowland regions of Mexico. They may largely be discerned in regions of southern coastal Texas in the winter. The Black-bellied Whistling Duck earlier was historically regarded as non-migratory, however, it migrates in the south along with the northern areas of its range.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Lifecycle

Females may lay eggs in each other’s nests such as “dump nests” may have 50-60 or more eggs. Incubation is by both sexes 25-30 days. Ducklings in the cavity nest can climb walls of the cavity, jump to the ground 1 or 2 days after hatching. Young tended by both parents, find all their own food. Young fledge at about 2 months. They may mate for life. Their life expectancy is 8 years.


The male and the female ducks are jointly involved in choosing the location of the nest. These nesting locations can vary from being in three compartments which is where these ducks commonly nest in, to even nest boxes or containers and ground nests. They are also known to nest in colonies and while most of the nesting process ranges from Mid-May as well as Mid-June. About the tree cavity, it is selected depending on the size and the quantity of vegetation. However, the huge threat of the ducklings being attacked by lurking predators or the danger of getting trapped inside the vegetation is what results in the ducks not choosing a tree with excessive vegetation. This contrasts with when selecting a ground nest, as the site would be more obscuring and a location with considerable vegetation.


Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes

At the Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.

Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Stickers

Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Black-bellied Whistling Duck. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.

Bird Feeders for Black-bellied Whistling Duck

There are many types of bird feeders. Bird feeders are a great addition to your backyard. Bird feeders will increase the chances of attracting birds drastically. Both kids and adults will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. There are a wide variety of bird feeders on the market and it is important to find the best fit for you and your backyard.

Best Bird Houses for Black-bellied Whistling Duck

There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.

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