Birds Living II by Richard Stade - RStade

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks – Loafing

Dendrocygna autumnalis

December – Texas

L=21”...... WS=30” ...... WT=1.8 lb Order: Anseriformes (Ducks, Geese Swans) Family: Aatidae (Ducks, Geese Swans)

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks are more arboreal than most ducks and will frequently be seen loafing in trees and even on barbed wire or telephone lines. Prior to being renamed “whistling-ducks” this species was called the Black-bellied Tree Duck. Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks are gregarious and are found in large flocks. When loafing or foraging it is common for sentries to watch for threats. Individuals form lifelong pairs and will separate from a flock in breeding season. Usually they nest in tree cavities. Their young are precocial (i.e. born with open eyes, downy feathers, and are capable of locomotion within a few hours of hatching) and will jump from the nest within 24 hours of hatching. To soften the fall from the 8-30 foot height parents will find or create a landing area that has thick herbaceous matter.