Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Just when I was getting a touch of "empty pond syndrome" after Nessie's departure (our little pied-billed grebe), the black-bellied whistling ducks have returned to lend some amusement to our pondscape.
These are unique ducks.  They don't quack; instead they have a high-pitched whistle (click here to get a sample).  They have bright pink/orange bills and legs.  They stand tall like an egret.  They can raise the ridge of brown on their heads like a tiny little mohawk.  They don't like to swim in the pond so often perch on fences and trees (unless they've got a brood of ducklings on the water).  They originate from parts of Central America and Mexico but have been making their way to Run*A*Round Ranch now for about 8 years and are spreading further north in the summers.  They get pretty accustomed to humans so will often hang nearby without flying off if you don't make too many surprising moves.  The group that has shown up this year are more shy than we've had in previous years.  They might be offspring of some of our 'regulars' so will take a while to get used to us being around. 



I will definitely be posting more of them throughout the summer.  We've had pairs have ducklings on our pond before (which is always dangerous, considering the dogs, hawks, and even snapping turtles in the past). 

61 comments:

The Hunter's Wife said...

I don't think I've ever seen these before.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

What funny looking ducks.

Do you ever swim in your pond?

Kymberly Foster Seabolt said...

Must. Get. Pond.

Sigh ... ♥

Lois Evensen said...

I have never seen these before. Just beautiful! I look forward to more images of them.

Deb said...

I love their sound...they are so cute...glad you don't have empty pond syndrome anymore....

Samantha said...

You've officially driven me over the edge with birder jealousy! ;)

Judy said...

Wow T...You get some pretty neat wildlife at your pond. I have never seen these before.

Louise said...

I've never seen, or even heard of those ducks. They are going to provide you with endless amusement this summer, I can tell. And, if they provide you with endless amusement, I'm glad that your forthcoming pictures will do the same for us!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

They are interesting looking ducks.I am looking forward to seeing more of them.This is a duck we don't have where I live.

Sandra said...

i did not know there are ducks that don't quack. these sound delightful to me. i would never have thought duck if i heard that sound, they are beautiful and thanks for the info, learn something new daily in blogland

Sharon said...

How unusual and lucky for you, have never seen them before! Pretty!

anecdotes said...

Duck. Duck. Goose ! What gorgeous colors you have captured in these photos. And the last one with the reflections creating a geometric effect in the water.
Quack. Quack. NO ! Whistle. Whistle.
~sWaMpY~

farmer said...

What a interesting bird,thanks for sharing.
my Jack Russell was wondering what that sound was!
I have a few ponds,streams,bogs and a brook,my DH owns a excavator so he is making one pond larger this year,I hope it attracts more wildlife.
Such beautiful birds you attract to yours.

Nancy said...

Love these ducks! So unusual, both in appearance and behavior. I do hope they stay to raise some ducklings. :)

Texan said...

Never seen those here at our pond. Very cool looking.

Julie Harward said...

Thats cool, if I saw them, I wouldn't know they were ducks, have not seen any like that! :D

Randy said...

Looks like a pair of buddies trying to decide what to do today. I love it.

Debbie said...

it's official, i want to live on your pond!!! in the third picture their little heads form a heart, do you think that's a "stretch"!!! and lot's of information this morning, did you know all that or was there a little "googling" involved!!

Life is good! said...

so darling! i hope they beat the odds and survive dogs, snapping turtles and the rest. go ducks go!

Naturedigital said...

Beautiful, colorful birds.
Great photographs.
Costas

Rae said...

They are so unusual. I've never heard of them before. Great photos too.

wayside wanderer said...

I played the whistling and that sure got my doggie's attention from over on the couch. =) Never seen such funny ducks, but love the looks of them and you can't go wrong with those pretty bills!

The Wife of a Dairyman said...

I have never seen that type of duck before....they are beautiful. You're so fortunate to view all the wildlife you have living all around you:)

Rural Rambler said...

Those ducks are comically(is that a word?)darling! I want to visit your pond and just sit with a glass of wine and my picture taker!

Cher' Shots said...

well now, of all the ducks and geese I've seen, I've never even heard of these. Thanks for sharing!
'hugs from afar'

Michaele said...

Those are beautiful ducks! Never heard of them, but instantly in awe of them. Thanks for the info on them.

Farm Girl said...

I have never seen that kind before and I love the sound. I also like that website so thanks for showing it. You have the neatest things on your pond. I look forward to seeing more.

don said...

These are new to me. What a fine series of these unusual ducks. I enjoyed hearing their whistle too.
fine, detailed shot of them with very nice color.

sharon said...

very interesting. never have seen one of these ducks. great pictures as well. Thanks.

Trisha said...

Thats it! I'm going to grab my shovel, dig a hole & fill it with water. Then will all the cool birds come to my house too?

Margaret said...

I look forward to following these ducks over the summer!

Amila Kanchana said...

Very interesting!

Hilke Breder said...

What a colorful duck and with their long legs and upright posture so unlike our usual ducks! Great shots!

Robin said...

Theresa, what an unusual duck. I've never heard of them before. They certainly have a different voice. Weird!

Furry Bottoms said...

I often wonder... do ducks ever really relax?

bon bon said...

they're just adorable. and their coloring is beautiful! thanks for including the audio file, and saving me the search. ;o)

Frank said...

I often watch these (albeit a collection species) during visits to a nearby Wetland Reserve. A very characterful species. FAB.

Paula said...

Ooooh! Love those cute feet!

mick said...

Great photos and how lovely to have an environment where the birds feel safe.

Andrew said...

I get to see birds I have never been aware of every week. These are real beauties. Many thanks for sharing.

Adam Tilt said...

Nice birds. I've only seen these in UK collections like Frank so it's great to see some out in the wild.

Adam @ My Life Outside

Carletta said...

What a lovely picture essay of their display. I LOVE that fourth shot!

Thanks for your visit. :)

bailey-road.com said...

What unusual ducks, with their distinctive appearance and sound! These are wonderful shots of those lovely little ducks. It looks like you provide and excellent habitat for them.

Sondra said...

HOW unique they are!! Never seen one great to see a post about them!!

Millie said...

Very interesting. I love how you know so much about all the animals you see around your home.

Rain said...

Interesting-have never seen ducks like these before!! Love the pond!

Gary said...

What an interesting duck!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Those are so beautiful -- I saw them, even one with babies, when we spent a season at Port Aransas. You live in a great state for birding. I really really loved it there on the gulf coast, especially duruing migration -- March and April.

Thanks for sharing these great whistlers.

Springman said...

Thanks for the introduction to the Red Bellied Whisteling duck. It's a new one on me thats for sure, I almost thought you made it up. It looks to be a very good neighbor!
;-)WBW

Sailor said...

Beautiful Picture!

I just missed one day and you have so many pictures. I am catching upon all
Cruise Picture

Pat Ulrich said...

Aren't they such lovely birds -- wonderful captures of their interaction!

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

Ahhhh....I hope they have babies! They are so cute. They sort of remind me of Puffins. Nice shots.

NatureFootstep said...

seems like cool birds. :)

Rose said...

It looks so odd to see a duck perched on something...I had never heard of these so you have shown me something totally new.

Fotokarusellen said...

A very nice set of images and most interesting. Thank you. Well done!

dreamfalcon said...

Great series - I've never heard of a waterfowl that doesn't like to be in the water too much :-)

Inger-M said...

Nice ducks! I love how they are perched on the pipe so you can see their webbed feet so well.

Bill S. said...

I love their long legs and their color - great photographs.

Allison said...

I have always liked the look of those ducks. They look tidy and compact. What beautiful sounds you have coming from your yard!!

gowestferalwoman said...

I have never seen those before - thats neat!

Have you ever been to crex meadows over by Grantsburg, Wisconsin? We did a timber cruise over there one year and I saw so many water birds, it was fun! your pond reminds me of there!

eileeninmd said...

They are such cute ducks, great shots. Thanks for sharing!

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