Species Spotlight: Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks By: Wes Tallyn

The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is a very recognizable bird that has only become a resident of Florida in the past century. Their range has spread significantly throughout the southern half of the United States and even throughout the Midwest. They have spread North from Central and South America.

Their orange bill, brown chest and black colored “belly” feathers make them stand out from other duck species. They are commonly found in large flocks and are very social birds. As their name states, they make a loud whistling noise and in large flocks can be heard from some distance.

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks can be found on ponds, lakes and marshes. They like to stand upright a lot of times on the banks of ponds; but, when in the water, they tend to be in marsh vegetation. When they do stand upright, their long pinkish colored legs are visible and they tower over the area. This gives them good sight distance to see potential predators.

Waterfront residents sometimes build boxes or stands for the ducks to nest on. Central Florida and the Everglades are the best locations to find them feeding in vegetation. Often, they’re also very commonly seen flying overhead around dusk and dawn in small flocks. See if you can find them in your local parks and water bodies today!


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