Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

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Common in Central and South America, Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks have steadily expanded their range into the southern U.S. and still continue to broaden northward.

Spring last year, a rare small flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks arrived at a countryside residential development’s retention pond near Clayton, Delaware, and stayed until fall, a huge delight to birders from near and far.Β  I shared them with you last September before they migrated south for the winter.

And now they are back!Β  There are 32 of them scattered around the pond, some alone, some paired up, and still others grouped under the trees’ shade.

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Black-bellied Whistling Duck

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Unlike most ducks, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks mate for life.

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The pond is alongside a residential street so you can sit in your car and easily photograph them without any disturbance.

Here’s a bath time series of photos that I think will give you a chuckle.Β  πŸ˜‰

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“What?Β  You’ve never seen two ducks take a shower together?”

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“Okay, dear, once is enough for me, let me get out of the way!”

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Lots of bath times and preening around the pond.Β  A true delight!

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Black-bellied Whistling Duck

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And, yes, they do whistle to communicate.Β  Take a listen….

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Black-bellied Whistling Ducks audio recorded by Alexandre Renaudie

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50 thoughts on “Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

  1. We were lucky enough to have had them (13 in total) here in our local pond this spring for 12 hours. Maybe tey were headed to Clayton? Wilde Lake in Columbia MD.

  2. The great photos and luxury commentsπŸ˜πŸ˜˜πŸ“· Have You a beautiful day dear DonnaπŸŒžπŸŒΉπŸ€—

  3. Wow, they are getting β€˜citified’ 😁😁. Once they get comfortable they tell their friends. About 4 years ago we found 2 pairs with chicks. This spring around 100+ were in the marshes. Nice photos πŸ‘πŸ‘

  4. Nice collection of images, Donna! Your audio was my first hearing of them whistling. Obviously we don’t have them here and I haven’t been to Delaware etc. in years and even then just visiting people and not nature. That bathing sequence is humorous. Hopefully he was creating all that splashing with his feet and not some other way. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, Steve! My first time seeing BBWDs was in Florida years ago, and I actually heard them first, flying overhead, whistling. Pretty cool to hear overhead! Yepper, that male got a dousing of good ole dirty water! πŸ˜‰

  5. They make me want to squeal when I see them. Cute! And, mating for life reminds me of Canada geese. My buddy Ray is security around IBM in RTP. There are a lot of geese & ducks out there. There is one male goose that is close to a side door he checks on. It lost its mate about two years ago but, returns to the nesting site and waits for her. Just pitiful…

  6. How wonderful Donna to have these gorgeous ducks return. I had a similar experience recently with our Cockies, they return to the same trees at the same time each year, which makes them predictive and great for us birders.

    • Thank you, Ashley! These ducks are a 1/2 mile from my daughter’s home, so if they stay all summer again, I’ll get to enjoy them often! Great with your Cockies, a delight to us birders to enjoy rarities that may become annuals. πŸ™‚

  7. Aren’t they lovely, quite colorful. Interesting how species continue to change routes, etc. with the changing climate. Loved the bath time shots! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, Eliza! They do sport a tropical vibe for sure with those colors! We are lucky today in seeing species increasing their reaches. But on the opposite side, the birds are sharing their important knowledge of the changes in climate that is occurring. Birds are truly smart! πŸ™‚

  8. Lovely pictures, Donna! It was nice of the handsome duck couple to stick around and let you get a glimpse into their daily routines. Hearing what they sound like added a lot to the visual experience. They have such pleasing expressions on their faces.

    • Thank you, Barbara! I am really lucky that this pond is a 1/2 mile from our daughter’s home, so I’ll be checking them out all summer/fall if they remain again throughout the season. 🀞 πŸ™‚

  9. What a coincidence! We just had one sitting in our large oak tree in the back yard! They’re common across the street at the many water holes at a golf course. Looks like you’ll soon be seeing large numbers of them, if our local experience is any indication.

    Mighty handsome ducks!

    • Perched in an oak tree, that has to be pretty scene! It’d be nice for them to increase in our area, I’m hoping to possibly see ducklings come end of summer, fingers crossed. Thank you, Wally!

  10. Ah, the Whistlers – I could easily argue (or agree) that these ducks are at the top of the cute list. They can be a bit “squeaky”, but still a joy to watch.

    • Thank you, Tanja! These ducks do seem to be expanding more and more into the US, I hope you come across them one day. I’d only seen them in Florida in years past so this is a treat for me, they are 1/2 mile before my daughter’s home and still there as if they will hang there all summer again this year. A muddy retention pond. Go figure!

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