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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Black-bellied Whistling-ducks

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I was introduced to the Black-bellied Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) on my first birding trip to S. Texas several years ago.  While touring the King Ranch as a new birder, we encountered a pond within the immense property that was literally filled to the brim with these noisy waterfowl.  We heard them before we saw them.  There were so many, one could hardly see the surface of the water.  In his book Essential Field Guide Companion, Peter Dunne describes them as " very vocal, but not necessarily loud.  Their call is a squealing whistle followed by two (or more) high, sharp stuttered peepings."  While they may not be very loud, when there are hundreds, their vocalizations fill the air.



Most recently, I've had the pleasure of observing the Black-bellied Whistling-ducks on my visits to the inner-city Brackenridge Park in San Antonio, Texas.


(click picture to enlarge)

This waterfowl, a medium sized (19" - 21") goose-like duck, slightly smaller than a Mallard, favors fresh water habitats surrounded by trees, but can be found foraging in dry fields.  Here they have found safety in numbers in the brackish waters within the confines of the park along the San Antonio River.






Mostly found in the subtropic environments of southern-most US to Central South America, they are pretty much non-migratory.  

 

They can often be seen perched in nearby trees.  As a matter of fact, they were once known as black-bellied tree-ducks because they nest in tree cavities.


And they don't mind sharing their space with others!
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I always look forward to leisurely strolls through Brackenridge Park when I visit San Antonio, a place to escape the city for an hour, an afternoon, or even a whole day, in the company of my daughter.

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30 comments:

Lavender Cottage said...

Hi Karen
I liked the first photo best as I got a good luck at this type of duck but it was the water that caught my attention too! A kaleidoscope of colours that is fabulous.
Have a great weekend.

Michael said...

That top pic is a beauty

Kirsten said...

I love seeing the Whistling Ducks in the area. There's a nearby pond that I drive by daily where I often see one or two perched on a fallen log. It's also one of the few ducks that I can easily ID when I see it! :)

Bob Bushell said...

I learned a new bird today. That bird is marvellous.

eileeninmd said...

Great shots of the Black Bellies Whistling ducks. It would be a lifer for me too. The park sounds like a nice place to see birds.

Pam said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos and info. I have not seen these unique ducks before, their beautiful.

Laura Trevey said...

Hi Karen!

Thanks for the visit over at Bright, Bold, and Beautiful... you are right, less is more!

Your tulip print is on its way :)
xoxo Laura

Darrin O'Brien said...

Great set of shots and info. I'll be back to peruse more posts.

Kathy said...

Thanks for the great photos and the narrative that accompanied them.

KaHolly said...

Thanks for visiting, everyone. I esp. like the first photo, too. I do not photoshop my pictures, so I guess I got pretty lucky. Sometimes that happens! ~karen

Carver said...

Wonderful shots of the ducks and I also like the last shot with the mix of water birds.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Karen: Thanks so much for sharing this neat duck. Certainly is one I know nothing of. The breast color look like a Mallards.

Niesz Vintage Home said...

Gorgeous photos!
They certainly are cute. :-)
Thanks for the interesting info, too. Never really pictured ducks hanging out in trees.

Kimberly

Regina said...

Wow so cute and amazing.
Beautiful captures!
Have a nice week.

magiceye said...

superb captures and informative commentary
thank you

Gattina said...

Very beautiful pictures ! the water looks gorgeous !

CountryDreaming said...

What a cool-looking duck! Would love to hear what their whistling sounds like. This would be a lifer for me too. Thanks for allowing us the opportunity to get a glimpse of these birds!

It's Time to Live said...

I think I need to visit your part of the world!

JRandSue said...

Hi Karen,great images.
You asked what advice did Steve give Sue,he told her to sellect a differant ISO setting.He has a Blog Swopticsphoto.
He gives camera settings for each of his shoots.
He's a top Photographer.
John.

Rambling Woods said...

I love waterfowl and this is a new one to me. You gave a wonderful description....Michelle

John said...

Hi Karen,

Thank you for sharing the photos and information on the Black-bellied Whistling Duck. A charming Water bird and I love Ducks that whistle.

We have Ducks in the UK that nest in tree holes, which are Goldeneyes.

Thank you Karen.
John

KaHolly said...

John, We have Goldeneyes here, too, but I didn't realize they nested in trees! ~karen

lisaschaos said...

I've never seen one of these ducks irl and look at you seeing a whole slew! Wonderful images!

Kay said...

Great photos of the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks! I live in the Rio Grande Valley--they are fun to watch at my bird feeder! I'm glad I found your blog.

Marvin said...

A duck I have never (knowingly) seen. Thanks for the introduction. Great images!

Rambling Woods said...

I saw your comment on my blog..Both hubby and me are retired special education teachers.....Michelle

Johnny Nutcase said...

excellent series of photos, don't you love the black-bellied whistlers? they are so pretty! I think i saw my fist in texas a few years ago also. that's cool they share their spot with the otters...all the ducks here flush like crazy with the otters come by!
thanks for your kind words on my blog!

Mary said...

What a great looking duck and I love the first photo with the colors on it. These are all wonderful photos. I'm embarassed to say that I just found a comment you left on my quilt blog some time ago. I thank you for visiting and the nice comment you left.

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Oh, I love birds, watching real ones and painting about them and making up my own. I loved your post today and joined so that I can keep up with birding in Texas. I do miss that now that I live elsewhere. South Texas birding is phenomenal and living in (under??) one of the migratory flyways was extraordinary.

Martha Miller said...

your photographs are stellar! what kind of camera do you use, karen? the colors in that top pic are magical!

thankyou for all your kind remarks ond encouragement! xo