Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks - First Known Sighting in Hamilton, Ontario

July 21, 2016
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks - Hamilton, Ontario
1/800, f/6.3, ISO 400, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 400mm DO II

On July 13 a group of five Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks (BBWDs) arrived in the Hamilton area. Initially found by Eric Holden, this is the first time that this species has been seen in the Hamilton Study Area. As written up in a blog post by Josh Vandermeulen here, there are only five accepted records of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks in all of Ontario, so this was indeed a rare sighting and I was thrilled to be one of the lucky observers.

In the above photo, the five BBWDs are roosting on the beach. According to Pete Dunne (Dunne, 2006), Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is mostly a coastal species. In the U.S., it breeds in southern and eastern Texas and coastal Louisiana. It is an uncommon breeder in southeastern Arizona and has recently (keep in mind Pete's book was published in 2006) established in central and southern Florida. Pete notes that BBWDs are increasingly wandering outside of their breeding areas, but as noted above, it is still very unusual to see them in Ontario.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks - Hamilton, Ontario
1/800, f/6.3, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 400mm DO II

As shown in the photo above, BBWD has a long neck, long thick legs and walks with an erect stance. According to Dunne, BBWD is among the least aquatic of waterfowl and when in water, is normally found in depths shallow enough to allow it to stand. This was certainly true during my period of observation.

Below the BBWDs swim in shallow water with a low profile.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks - Hamilton, Ontario
1/800, f/6.3, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 400mm DO II
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks - Hamilton, Ontario
1/800, f/11, ISO 1600, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 400mm DO II

The red bill, gray face with pale ey-ring together with a black belly and sturdy pink legs make this duck easily identified.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks - Hamilton, Ontario
1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 400mm DO II

The ducks spent much of their time roosting on the beach during my stay. There were very few occasions when I observed any of them stretching their wings, but I did manage to capture a few photos like the ones above and below.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck - Hamilton, Ontario
1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 400mm DO II

New Gallery Photos Added                       Gallery

Black-bellied Whistling Duck                        Ducks, Geese and Swans (Part 2)

Spotted Sandpiper                                        Sandpipers, Phalaropes and Allies

 

 

References:

Dunne, Pete, 2006. Pete Dunne's Essential Field Guide Companion, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York

http://joshvandermeulen.blogspot.ca/2016/07/black-bellied-whistling-duck..., 2016

 

 

Happy Birding,

Claude

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