White-faced whistling duck

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White-faced whistling duck
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Dendrocygna
D. viduata
Binomial name
Dendrocygna viduata
(Linnaeus, 1766)
White-faced whistling duck range

Anas viduata Linnaeus, 1766

The white-faced whistling duck (Dendrocygna viduata) is a whistling duck that breeds in sub-Saharan Africa and much of South America.

This species is gregarious, and at favoured sites, the flocks of a thousand or more birds arriving at dawn are an impressive sight. As the name implies, these are noisy birds with a clear three-note whistling call.


The white-faced whistling duck has a long grey bill, a long head, and longish legs. It has a black neck and head, and a distinctive white face that gives it its name, though the amount of white color visible has regional variations among the species. For example, the white-faced whistling ducks with more black coloration are commonly found in western Africa where rainfall supersedes the dry season. The back and wings are dark brown to black, and the underparts are black with a fine white barring on the flanks. The neck is chestnut. Males and females have similar plumage. Juveniles are similar in color to adults but have a much less contrasted head pattern.

Range and habitat[edit]

The white-faced whistling duck has a peculiar disjunctive distribution, occurring in Africa and South America. It has been suggested that they may have been transported to new locations worldwide by humans. The habitat is still freshwater lakes or reservoirs, with plentiful vegetation, where this duck feeds on seeds and other plant food.

Because of its large range, there are many common names for the white-faced whistling duck, including "irere" and "guiriri".[2][3]


This is an abundant species. It is largely resident, apart from local movements which can be 100 km or more.


It nests on a stick platform near the ground and lays 8-12 eggs. Trees are occasionally used for nesting.


The white-faced whistling duck is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

Mated pair of White-Faced ducks



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Dendrocygna viduata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22679763A92829021. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22679763A92829021.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ Gomez-Dallmeier, Francisco (1989). Biology, Conservation and Management of Waterfowl in Venezuela. Editorial Ex Libris. ISBN 978-980-6200-13-5.
  3. ^ South American Explorer. South American Explorers Club. 1983.

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