Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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The Honey Bee Cafe will be closed today. The Hofman Dog Haus will be open and Dippin' Dots are available in the Animal Health Center.

Cuban Whistling Duck

Dendrocygna Autumnalis

Cuban Whistling ducks also known as Black-Bellied Whistling ducks are very boisterous medium sized duck (18-21 inches long) is noted for its vibrant rose-colored bill and long-legged silhouette, being the most erect standing of all ducks.

Range & Habitat

Found in Southern US and Mexico in stands of Mesquite, hackberry, willow, live oak, and shallow freshwater ponds. Found predominantly in inland wetlands and arable lands.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Population trend: Increasing
The species population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion.
Threats: Climate change has gradually caused droughts which is diminishing water and food resources, spring heat waves endanger young birds and urbanization leading to shrinking bird habitats.


In The Wild: Forages predominantly on water plants and agricultural crops such as sorghum, corn, rice, wheat, and occasional insects.

In Human Care: They are fed sustainably grown water plants and agricultural crops such as sorghum, corn, rice, and wheat.

Life Span

In the Wild: 6-9 years Averaging around 8.2
In Human Care: 6-8 years

Fun Facts about the Cuban Whistling Duck

  • While they form lifelong mating pairs, they also live-in flocks of up to 1,000 birds.
  • They typically nest in tree hollows but do not build nests. They simply lay their eggs, (between 18 eggs),directly on any debris is in the hollow which will hatch in 25-30 days.
  • Black-Bellied Whistling-Ducks looks similar most ducks however their long-term pair bonds and their lack of sexual dimorphism traits bear a resemblance to swans and geese.


Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. TheCornellLab. Retrieved July 22, 2021

Black-bellied Whistling Duck. Ducks Unlimited Retrieved July 22, 2021

BirdLife International. 2018. Dendrocygna autumnalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: Retrieved on July 22, 2021

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck+Dendrocygna-autumnalis. Retrieved July 22, 2021

Updated June 13, 2023
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