Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

Feeder Set up
On our first morning, after breakfast, the group divided up depending on what they wanted to photograph.  Two of us went down to the area that had the larger grain feeders, hoping to photograph Tom turkeys displaying and black-bellied whistling ducks, since the previous afternoon we saw Tom turkeys displaying down in this area.  We were driven to the area and after we set up, we waited to see what action would happen.  The first thing, a flight of whistling ducks went over.  A single and Turkey came and fed, but there were no toms.  However, the black-bellied whistling duck gave us good shows.  They flew when and landed both on the ground and on limbs and in trees.

 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), is only one of the two whistling-duck species that are native to North America.  Its former name was the black-bellied tree duck.  It is found from southern most United States to tropical central to South-Central South America.

 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

An interesting fact about the black-belly whistling duck is that they usually feed nocturnally, but ours were feeding during the morning hours.  Their food source is usually plant material, arthropods and aquatic invertebrates.  They also will eat leftover grain and feels after harvest..

 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) Coming in for Landing in a Tree
 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) Big Wings Spread
 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) Coming in for a Landing by the Feeder
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) Sitting on a Tree Stump
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) Sitting in a Tree

Among ducks, the black-bellied whistling duck is unusual as it makes for life.  Both sexes share in the brooding and raising process of the young.  They are primarily nests in cavities, but rarely on the ground.  In areas where mammalian nests predators are absent is when they will nest on the ground, and several females can share the same nest.  Female black-bellied whistling ducks can lay up to 13 eggs.

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