White-faced whistling-duck

White-faced whistling-duck
Dendrocygna viduata

Photo by Cláudio Timm (Flickr)

Common name:
white-faced whistling-duck (en); irerê (pt); dendrocygne veuf (fr); suirirí cariblanco (es); witwenpfeifgans (de)

Order Anseriformes
Family Anatidae

This species is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including Madagascar, and also in South America, east of the Andes, from northern Venezuela and Colombia down to northern Argentina.

These birds are 38-48 cm long and weigh 500-820 g.

The white-faced whistling-duck is found in various freshwater wetlands, including lakes, swamps, marshes, large rivers, floodplains and also man-made habitats such as rice fields, reservoirs and sewage farms, favouring areas with dense emergent vegetation. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.

They feed on grasses, seeds of aquatic plants, rice, pondweed, tubers, and also some aquatic invertebrates such as molluscs, crustaceans and insects.

White-faced whistling-ducks usually breed in the local rainy season. They are monogamous and can nest in solitary pairs, small groups or loose colonies. Each pair nests on a shallow depression in the ground, placed amongst long grass or reedbeds and very close to water. The female lays 4-13 days, which are incubated for 26-28 days. The chicks fledge 8 weeks after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 1,7-2,8 million individuals. The overall population trend in increasing although some populations are decreasing.

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