Sunday Duck o’ the Week

Once again evolutionary biologist John Avise has provided us with a duck found in North America, and you’re to guess the species. After looking at the pictures and making your guess, click below the fold to see the ID, some duck facts provided by John, and a range map.

John had only three photos of this species, but they should suffice because males and females are sexually monomorphic (look alike):

Click “read more” for the ID, duck facts, and a range map.

Fulvous Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor)

“Fulvous” means brownish-yellow or tawny, and that descriptor is apt for this drab, sexually monomorphic duck.  In the United States, this mostly subtropical species can be found only in central Florida and in rice fields along the Texas and Louisiana coastlines.  Like its cousin (the Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Dendrocygna autumnalis; see last week’s post), this duck whistles frequently, nests and roosts in trees, stands upright on rather long legs, and likes to hang out in flocks.  Unlike most other ducks but like many swans, Whistling-Ducks tend to stay pair bonded for multiple years or even for life, and both sexes contribute to rearing the offspring.  This species occurs throughout the tropical Americas, the Indian subcontinent, and even southern Africa (where my photos were taken).   Evolutionarily, extant Whistling-ducks are the descendants of an ancient lineage that branched off early in the duck phylogenetic tree.

And a range map from the Cornell Bird Site:

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