Home » Nongame Bird Blog » Holy Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Batman!

Holy Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Batman!

The Black-bellied Whistling Duck is a stunning species of waterfowl that typical occurs south of Nebraska, primarily south Texas.  However, this species is increasing and expanding its range.  Nebraska has not been immune or untouched from this expansion, not that we would want to be.  In 1989, Nebraska claimed its first documented record of this species when a single bird was shot in Clay County.  Sightings have increased since 1989 and during the past decade this species has occurred almost annually in our state.  Thus, having a report come across my email of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks being seen in southern Nebraska yesterday (6 May 2015) was not a major surprise.   What was surprising was the number of birds observed and you can see for yourself, below, what I am talking about.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Sixteen Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks observed on a barn roof south of Holdrege on 6 May 2015.
Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks
A closer view of a few of the birds observed. This view leaves no doubt what species these birds belong.

Most of Nebraska Black-bellied Whistling-Duck sightings are of single birds, pairs or small groups (i.e., < 5 birds).   Thus, this observation of sixteen is noteworthy and it may also be something that may become more frequent in the future.  I will not have a problem growing accustomed to seeing this species more frequently.

If you happen to see a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck in Nebraska, I would be interested to know about it.  Do not hesitate dropping me a note at joel.jorgensen@nebraska.gov and if you happen to snap a few photos, please send those along as well.

Good birding!

Nongame Bird Blog

Since the original email and photos were forwarded a number of times, I am unaware of the original observer (although I am working to find out).  If you were the original observer of these birds, please do not hesitate contacting me at joel.jorgensen@nebraska.gov so I can give you credit for the sighting and the photos.  

About Joel Jorgensen

Joel Jorgensen is a Nebraska native and he has been interested in birds just about as long as he has been breathing. He has been NGPC’s Nongame Bird Program Manager for eight years and he works on a array of monitoring, research, regulatory and conservation issues. Nongame birds are the 400 or so species that are not hunted and include the Whooping Crane, Least Tern, Piping Plover, Bald Eagle, and Peregrine Falcon. When not working, he enjoys birding.

Check Also

Ol’ Rough-legs

The rough-legged hawk may not stand out among raptors in looks, but it lives an …