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#NotesFromTheRiver - Ducks That Whistle?


Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

 

Everybody knows ducks quack. Right? Well . . . yeah, sure. But not ALL ducks. Some ducks whistle, believe it or not, and since one of them, the black-bellied whistling duck, is a favorite of mine, that's the one we'll be talking about--and listening to--today.

Black-bellied whistling ducks were called Black-bellied TREE ducks back in the Dark Ages when I first started birding. The name made sense to me, because you so often saw this large, long-legged duck perched in trees, especially along tall, dead limbs that afforded the duck a great view in all directions. I'm not sure if that's why they liked those so much, but that's where they were often spotted. But some time ago, their "official" common name (which is an oxymoron, by the way, since common names are not official, and are often different from place to place) got changed to Black-bellied whistling duck. Unlike many of the other seemingly arbitrary name changes in ornithology, this one actually makes sense. As mentioned above, this bird whistles instead of quacking. If you can't imagine such a thing, go HERE to check it our for yourself. (But come right back. We have lots more to learn about this guy).

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#NotesFromTheRiver - That's Just Ducky!


Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
Photo by Doug Little

 

Today, I'm starting a new series of posts on guess what? Yep. Ducks. Well, ducks and duck-like birds of the St. Johns River area. I was going to put this all in one post, and then I realized there were far too many good things to cram it all into one post. So, instead, I'm going to divide this up by species. In the next three to four weeks, I will be sharing photos and information on some of the most beautiful and interesting birds to make the St. Johns River basin home for part, if not all of, each year. I hope you will enjoy learning more about the following:


Black-bellied Tree Ducks, Now Known as Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
(There was a reason for the name, you see.)

 

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#NotesFromTheRiver - #WednesdayWonders

 

After such a long, involved post last week, I thought I'd give your brains (and mine!) a rest today, and  share some of Doug's gorgeous photos. Enjoy!

 


Hibiscus coccineus
a/k/a Swamp Mallow , Red Mallow, Scarlet Hibiscus, and Scarlet Rosemallow


White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) on the Wing

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