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White faced whistling duck

Dendrocygna viduata

The White-faced Whistling Duck is a whistling duck which 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.

This species has a long grey bill, long head and longish legs. It has a white face and crown, and black rear head. The back and wings are dark brown to black, and the underparts are black, although the flanks have fine white barring. The neck is chestnut. All plumages are similar, except that juveniles have a much less contrasted head pattern.

The White-faced is a highly social member of the whistling ducks and engages in mutual nibbling (allopreening) frequently. This friendship between pairs is particularly obvious when they are separated as they tend to call loudly to each other until reunited. They can also be stimulated to whistle in response to an imitation of their own call, especially if they cannot see where it is coming from!

White faces Whistling duck

fun facts

Conservation Status:

Least concern


Africa and South America


Lakes, swamps, rivers, flood plains


Seeds, grasses, small invertebrates





Incubation period:

28-30 days

Life Span:

10-12 yrs