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Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-08-03
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D70, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/60 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-03-05 7:36
Viewed: 4508
Points: 54
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This photo is taken in the birdpark near Iguazu.

The Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) is a whistling duck that uniquely breeds monogamously "for life" (as do swans and geese) in the southernmost USA and tropical Central and South America.

The Black-bellied Whistling Duck is a common but wary species. It is largely resident, apart from local movements. It usually nests in hollow trees. The habitat is quiet freshwater lakes, cultivated land or reservoirs with plentiful vegetation, where this duck feeds mainly at night on seeds and other plant food. It is highly gregarious, forming large flocks when not breeding. As the name implies, these are noisy birds with a clear whistling waa-chooo call.
It is known as pijije in Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, Mexico and Cuba.

The Black-bellied Whistling Duck is 48-53 cm long. It has a long red bill, long head and longish legs, pale grey head and mostly grey-brown plumage. The belly is black and the large white wing bar is visible in flight.
All plumages are similar, except that juveniles have a grey bill and less contrasted belly. Due to its unique appearance, this species is almost unmistakable. With an upright stance, long pink legs, and long neck, adult Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks are unlikely to be confused with any other species within their range. The belly is black, and the back, breast, lower neck, and cap are a rich chestnut brown. The face and upper neck are gray, and they sport a distinct white eye-ring. The extensive white in the wings is obvious in flight.

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks prefer shallow freshwater ponds, lakes, and marshes. Tree-lined bodies of water are of particular value. The species was formerly known as the Black-bellied Tree Duck; as this name suggests, they are quite fond of perching. Additionally, tree cavities provide nesting sites. This species can also be seen “loafing” in flocks on golf courses and other grassy areas near suitable waterways.

Feeding often occurs nocturnally, but can occur at any hour. Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks ingest a wide variety of plant material, but also consume insects and aquatic invertebrates when available. They often feed on submerged vegetation by wading through shallow water.

The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is unique among ducks, in that pairs often stay together for many years, a trait more often associated with geese and swans. Both parents share all tasks associated with the raising of young, from incubation to the rearing of ducklings. The ducks, primarily cavity nesters, prefer the confines of a hollow tree, but will nest on the ground when necessary. They also make use of chimneys, abandoned buildings, or nest boxes, the latter having been increasingly provided to them over recent decades, especially in southeast Texas and Mexico. Ducklings leap from nest cavities within two days of hatching, can feed themselves immediately, and stay with the parents for up to eight weeks.

The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is mainly non-migratory. Birds in the extreme northern portions of their range (Arizona, Louisiana, and parts of Texas) move south in winter. At the heart of their range, there is a tendency to travel in flocks over the winter months, though this behavior is not necessarily migratory.

rousettus, jaycee, Argus, Finland_in_Eton, boreocypriensis, nglen, JPlumb, Luis52, albert, Necipp, ramthakur, NinaM, warnzy, Alex99, CeltickRanger, ppmiranda has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Peter,
they are very lovely. You capture them with a very nice shot. Nicely composed. POV, focus, eyes contacts, colors very nice. good notes. TFS, well done

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-03-05 8:02]

Hi Peter,

I love it - what a lineup! I like the one naughty duck who is looking the wrong way. You captuted them beautifully with nice natural colors and good details.


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  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-03-05 8:10]

Nice capture of these ducks!
I wonder why they've lined up like this :-)
Great composition and POV.
I like how each duck is in a similar pose except for that one staring straight through the lens.
Could do with a boost opf contrast but that is all.
Well done Peter,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-03-05 8:36]

Hello Peter,
A fine and amusing capture of a row of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks standing on a wooden rail.
Though a little soft, this image does show the features of this species of whistling duck and I thank you for that!

Oh, this is MY kind of picture. I love finding images like this... they make me smile. Interesting DOF, bringing the center ducks into focus and softening the rest. Nicely composed too.

While the rest are looking elsewhere, I like how the three closest birds seem well aware of you and the middle one of that group seems to be 'having a word' with his neighbor about you.

Well done, thanks for putting a smile on my face today... Mish

Hello friend Peter,

What a lovely compositon:) of these beautiful ducks. They are in row like soldiers:) Excelent shot!. TFS.

Ps. I am looking forward to see that beautiful lizard in TN friend!

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-03-05 11:01]

Hi Peter

Another superb shot - excellent POV with outstanding colours and detail. Well observed and captured.


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  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-03-05 11:11]

Hi Peter. This has made me smile tonight I think its the second from the right duck looking at you . The answer to joeys question is that they are all quackers. !!!
well done .TFS.

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  • JPlumb Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 618 W: 158 N: 896] (2904)
  • [2008-03-05 13:06]

Hi Peter, this would make a great poster for "Getting your ducks in a row". The pose is fantastic, they all face the same way but for one, and he is turned your way. You could almost attach a comment to him. This is an excellent composition.


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  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2008-03-05 16:19]

Hola Peter.
Great image here. a lot of ducks, all of them are very nice. good focus and sharpness.
I like it Peter.
Your friend

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  • darwin Gold Star Critiquer [C: 259 W: 0 N: 403] (1401)
  • [2008-03-05 17:50]

Hi Peter
Great presentation with great poses
Nice eye contact and focus. tfs jon

A wonderful composition in the picture. Very good colours. Good work.
Best wishes,

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  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-03-06 0:27]

Hi Peter,
Wonderful shot of these Whistling Ducks nicely lined up on that plank. Very imressive sharpness and colours and I like the synchronity in their poses. I wonder how it would sound to the ears when they start whistling together. Excellent POV and a marvellous composition. Kudos.

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  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2008-03-06 2:37]

Hello Peter,
Great shot, very good POV and composition. Sharpness,details and colors are excellent.
Very well done .TFS..

Hi Peter
Your photo is well composed, nice serie of ducks but the DOF is, in my opinion, a bit too narrow

Hello Peter an excellent shot what a find! perfect line up. 1/60sec shutter was a little slow for the focal length but reasonably sharp nevertheless. I love how one of them is looking at you congrats nice one! tfs rgds Necip.

Very interesting duck formation, Peter.
You saw and captured the moment very well.
The focus is a tad soft in my opinion.
TFS and regards.

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-03-07 7:04]

-Hey you, I said: Nobody looks at the camera! :-)

Great shot Peter, it put a big smile on my face, well seen and very well done! I just love it, thanks!


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  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2008-03-07 14:46]

Hi Peter I had not visited your gallery in a while and I really love that picture! The ducks in a row and most of all, on a handrail, they look like school kids waiting for a signal... The one looking straight at the camera is really funny, thank you for a funny sight of these beautiful ducks and for the very interesting notes!


Hi Peter,

This is an amusing shot, and I love the fact that you have one of the ducks looking at you. Great composition and a nice note.


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  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-03-11 1:18]

Hi Peter.
What a rare and cute scene. I am amazed a lot as well as I am impressive with fine curve, created by hand-rails and birds. DOF is great. Colours are wonderful, a bit blurred BG is amazing too. Well done and TFS.

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2008-03-11 19:24]

Brvo Peter cette prise est superbe et très amusante.
Merci pour le partage.


  • Nilson Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 488 W: 0 N: 566] (4423)
  • [2008-03-12 11:13]

Ola Peter
Linda foto deste bando de patos, a composição ficou bem criativa e a imagem nitida e limpa.

hello Peter

funny shot of these ducks posed on a roll, excellent POV,
excellent DOF, by they glance they look funny,
i love the eye-contact with you of one of them, TFS


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  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-03-15 20:48]

Hello Peter

A wonderful capture of all these ducks in a row.
Note to duck 2,don't look at the camera.LOL.
Very good display of plumage colour and markings.
The POV is very good.
Lovely detail.

This is an amusing image Peter. I love the one looking at you while all the others look the other way. These ducks are unfamiliar to me. Thanks for sharing them.

Evelynn : )

Sem qualquer dúvida, uma das melhores que já vi por aqui.
A simetria, cores e posição dos animais são bastante interessantes.
E aquele olhando para você ? Foi uma autorização par aa foto ?

Oportuna toma Peter, aunque no se como aguantaron ahí todos esticamente... supongo que deberías de estar bien escondido jajaja.
Saludos: Josep Ignasi.

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