Sunday, February 11, 2018

Northern Black-Bellied Whistling Duck

The black-bellied whistling duck has a long pink bill and pink legs; a black, name-sake belly, and tail, and in flight, the trailing wing edges are black; has a gray face and upper neck; has a white eye-ring and broad white wing stripe (in flight the mid-wing is white); and the body, back of the neck and head cap are a dark chestnut brown. Males and females look alike, but juveniles are more dull, have a gray bill, pale breast and mottled black belly. Its long neck and long legs give it a goose-like appearance. 

There are two subspecies. The northern black-bellied whistling duck, which I saw, is a year-round resident in Florida, southeastern Arizona, southern Texas, and coastal Georgia and South Carolina; and a summer breeding visitor to a larger portion of Texas, Louisiana and portions of Mississippi. It extends down coastal Mexico (both sides), the Yucatan Peninsula, and Central America. The southern black-bellied whistling duck is found below Panama and into large swaths of South America. It is smaller and has a gray breast and upper back. 
I saw this duck at the Circle Bar B Reserve in Lakeland, Florida. 

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