Sunday, April 29, 2012

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were a highlight of our early March stop in Rockport, Texas. Erika and I were driving through town in the evening, when unfamiliar birds began swooping down and landing a few blocks away. At first glance, I thought they might be ibis. These migrants from Mexico probably returned to eastern Texas a few days before we discovered them. As you can see below, they were attracted by a woman feeding massive bags of grain in her backyard.

You can tell my age because I call these birds Tree-Ducks. (Don't be surprised when I say a Northern Harrier is a Marsh Hawk.) These ducks nest in tree cavities and nest boxes. They form life-long pairs. Often they lay eggs in other whistling-duck nests (Dale and Thompson 2001). With so many whistling-ducks nearby, we had no trouble hearing their loud, whistled "pe-che-che-ne" calls.

During our Texas travels, we looked in vain for the other North American whistling-duck, the Fulvous. We read reports on eBird of south Texas Fulvous Whistling-Duck sightings, but the ducks kept a step ahead of us.

1 comment:

  1. thanks to your site I was able to identify these beautiful ducks that are hanging out around our small lake.