British Waterfowl Association

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Northern Black-bellied Whistling Ducks - Ian Gereg
Southern Black-bellied Whistling Duck
Southern Black-bellied Whistling Duck - Ian Gereg

There are 2 races: The nominate, Northern Black-bellied Whistling Duck D.a. fulgens, has a cinnamon-red neck, breast and upperparts.  South of the Panama Canal, the Southern, D.a. autumnalis, has a grey breast similar to the head colour in both subspecies. Both have a very distinctive hunched shape when flying.

southern Black-bellied Whistling duck
Southern Black-bellied Whistling duck - Dan Aldersley

Dendrocygna autumnalis

One of the strongest pair bonds of any duck is found in the Black-bellied Whistling Duck, which is common along the coastal regions of America’s southern states. These are distinctive birds, the only whistling ducks with pink legs and reddish bills. Some call them Red-billed Whistling Ducks.

Ducklings have striking contrast in their down pattern.

Southern Black-bellied Whistling family at Bubali Bird Sanctuary, Aruba - Michiel Oversteegen
Black-bellied Whistling duckling - Michiel Oversteegen
Northern Black-bellied Whistling Ducks - BWA

Black-bellied will take to nest boxes if they can squeeze through the hole, they nest in tree cavities in the wild. They can be prone to nest-dumping, so if you have several whistling ducks, careful observation is in order! Each duck will lay 13 -16 eggs and incubation is for an average of 27 days.