The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are everywhere these days. And, since Black-bellied Whistling Duck takes so long to write and say, I often shorten it by just writing BBWD 😉 One of my favorite birds (definitely my favorite ducks), they are really fun to watch as they ‘stand guard’ in pairs and little groups. Unlike other ducks who spend a great deal of time swimming around in the water, the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are very often seen along the shore, in the grass on the berms separating the ponds, or on little plant clumps in the water.They look like little sentries with their long legs and upright posture – even when sleeping! And their wonderful coloring, bright pink-orange bills and feet are unmistakable.They often engage in comical behaviors, like this little guy who appears to be saying, “Looks like a long way down off this bridge!”
Like everyone else in the wetland preserves, the BBWD‘s are in full courting mode now, and one of their methods of showing off for potential mates “includes birds stretching their necks out horizontally, dipping their bill, and flicking water over the back.” (http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black-bellied_Whistling-Duck/lifehistory)
See http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/black-bellied-whistling-duck for more cool information.
In addition to ‘bathing’, they are often seen scooting across the water and screeching to a halt by making a sudden splashy stop near someone they want to impress! Cute as they are, they can also tend to be a little pushy to other mild-mannered birds nearby.For example, the BBWD above simply didn’t care for the fact that a pleasant little Pie-billed Grebe was swimming a bit too close to him and his friends. He really chased him down in a very intimidating way, squawking and extending his neck as if to threaten the Grebe – who, by the way, took the hint and left!The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks really exemplify what it means to ‘stick together’. Just as they are so often seen in cozy little groups in the water or on land, there seems to be a ‘signal’ – or maybe a lead duck? – that abruptly says, “Hey, let’s all just fly somewhere else now!” once in awhile, and they all just fly off, whistling their special sound and circling the ponds in search of more fun!~
Listen here for a treat: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black-bellied_Whistling-Duck/sounds