The White-faced Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna viduata) in the Birds.
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White-faced Whistling-Duck
Dendrocygna viduata

White-faced Whistling-Ducks (Dendrocygna viduata)
White-faced Whistling-Ducks (Dendrocygna viduata)


The White-faced Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna viduata) is natural to the Americas and Africa. In the New World the northern limits of its distribution reaches Costa Rica, perhaps Nicaragua. Continues south to cover much of Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas, the Amazon Basin extending to the center of Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and northern Argentina (south of Buenos Aires). On the western side of the Andes it includes Ecuador, the southern limits could be in Peru. It has been recorded in Chile. Trinidad is also included in this distribution. Has been seen with some frequency in some of the Antilles: Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

In Africa this whistling-duck is found in the equatorial regions south of the Sahara desert and in the eastern part of the continent, including Madagascar and Mauritania.

It is recorded in Spain and the Canary Islands. Suspected to be vagrant or escaped individuals from ornamental waterfowl collections.


Sea level to 1000 meters of elevation.


This is a sedentary species, not migratory. Movements and displacements are according to the rains and scarcity of food.


Freshwater lakes, rivers, swamps and fields covered with water. Can be seen in brackish water marshes and river deltas. Shows preference for water deposits, large and small, with shallow shores or with high emerging aquatic vegetation. In South America it is seen where there are trees, although it is more usual in places where vegetation is not so high.


More active during crepuscular hours and at night.

This is a gregarious bird. It is frequently seen in river banks and freshwater lakes in groups that may count as many as a hundred individuals. These groups are made up of its own species and other whistling-ducks.

White-faced Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna viduata) and two Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
White-faced Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna viduata) and
two Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis)


The breeding season starts at different time according to location and the rainy season. The nest is done on the ground among the tall grass, on trees' branches which are not too high, and there are reports of nesting in holes in the trees. The nest is made out of grass, no down is added.

The usual clutch is six to twelve eggs, although some nests are recorded to have as many as thirty eggs. Incubation is done by both parents and takes from 26 to 30 days. At hatching the chicks are dark olive with yellow marks. Both parents take care of the young.


The diet is made up of plants, including seeds. It is complemented with invertebrates.


This is a big whistling-duck. In length it reaches from 45 to 53 cm, with a weight of 700 grams. The wing span is 86 to 94 cm.

White-faced Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna viduata)
White-faced Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna viduata)


The White-faced Whistling-Duck in Spanish is called “Yaguasa de Cara Blanca”, also:
    Argentina: “Sirirí Pampa”.
    Chile: “Pato Silbón Pampa”.
    Colombia: “Iguasa Careta”.
    Cuba: “Yaguasa Cariblanca” & “Yaguasa Negra”.
    Uruguay: “Pato Cara Blanca”.

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Last revision: March 1, 2007
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