A global citizen science platform
to discover, share and identify wildlife

Join Project Noah!

Black Bellied Whistling duck

Dendrocygna autumnalis


The black-bellied whistling duck is a mid-sized waterfowl species. Length ranges from 47 to 56 cm, body mass from 652 to 1,020 g and wingspan ranges from 76 to 94 cm. It has a long red bill, long head and longish legs, pale grey head and mostly grey-brown plumage. The belly and tail are black, and the body plumage, back of the neck and cap are a rich chestnut brown. The face and upper neck are grey, and they sport a thin but distinct white eye-ring. The extensive white in the wings is obvious in flight, less so on the ground; it is formed by the secondary remiges while the primaries are black; the wing-coverts are brown. Males and females look alike; juveniles are similar but have a grey bill and less contrasting belly. The wing bar is unique among living whistling ducks. When on the ground, it may be hard to discern the light flanks present in many of these waterfowl. The fulvous whistling duck (D. bicolor) is the only sympatric whistling duck that shows such a whitish flank stripe, and it differs from the black-bellied by having dark wings and a lighter belly rather than the other way around. Juvenile D. autumnalis are quite similar to young of the white-faced whistling duck (D. viduata), which have a darker bill and no white wing patch; even when sitting they never seem to show white along the sides, as their thin white vertical barring on the black flanks is very indistinct. As the name implies, these are noisy birds with a clear whistling waa-chooo call.


On the way to Chichirivichi wetlands. Grass and water puddles. Near the beach.


I did not spot these ducks at first, because I was smitten with the Scarlet Ibis that it was hiding amongst. Only when I zoomed in did I see these two heads sticking out and they made me giggle. They were surrounded by Great Egrets, Scarlet Ibis and Snow Egrets. Lovely! See http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/213... and http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/655...

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


Spotted by


Lat: 10.86, Long: -68.30

Spotted on Apr 30, 2017
Submitted on May 14, 2017

Related Spottings

Lesser Whistling Duck Lesser Whistling Duck Black-bellied Whistling Duck White-Faced Whistling Duck

Nearby Spottings

Scarlet Ibis Juvenile Great Egret Carib grackle Scarlet Ibis