Dendrocygna autumnalis

Status: Rare regular summer visitor Platte and North Platte River Valleys southward. Rare casual breeder southeast.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck range Nebraska 2020

Documentation: Specimen: UNSM ZM16079, 29 Oct 1989 Hansen WPA, Clay Co (Labedz 1990; Grenon 1990).

Taxonomy: No subspecies are recognized.

Changes since 2000: Of the 40+ records, only three occurred prior to 2000, clearly an increase in occurrence for this southern species that is now regular in occurrence in summer.

Summer: There are about 43 records, ranging from 13 Apr-30 Dec. There are only two Apr records, 13 Apr 2020 Garfield Co and 15 Apr 2017 Saunders Co, and one for May, 12 May 2019.  In fall, latest is early Dec-30 Dec 2008 at Pier Park, Grand Island, Hall Co; there is one other Dec record, 1-9 Dec 2010 Douglas Co.

There are two reports of breeding with tangible evidence. A pair with ducklings incapable of flight were at Funk WPA, Phelps Co on the rather late date 28 Sep 2019 (Krechmer,; two adults and nine juveniles were photographed there 15 Oct (Brogie et al, A female laid a clutch of 11 eggs in a Wood Duck box around 15 Aug 2020 on the Levi Krause property east of Louisville, Cass Co; the hen departed the nest with three of the young 14 Sep (Fide Mike Remund). A third credible report of breeding was of a brood seen and well described by Matthew Walker about three miles east of Rising City, Butler Co 1 Sep 2020 (fide T.J. Walker).

Reports are statewide south of the North Platte and Platte River Valleys, but most records are from the south-central and southeast. The westernmost record involved a group of eight photographed on 1-3 Jun 2017 at Bridgeport, Morrill Co, and 1-2 on 1-9 Jun 2012 in Lincoln Co, and the northernmost records a group of eight at Atkinson, Holt Co 21 Oct 2017, three there 19-23 Jun 2018 (Brogie 2019), and five in Knox and Cedar Cos 16 Nov 2019.

The provenance of a flock of 19, consisting of two adults and 17 immatures, near Holdrege, Phelps Co 24 Oct 2009 is not known; there were reports the same year of 5-7 free-flying adults on top of duck pens at two different waterfowl breeders in Hall Co. A group of 16 was photographed on a rooftop about 15 miles south of Holdrege 6 May 2015, not far from the 2009 sighting of 19 birds.



UNSM: University of Nebraska State Museum
WMA: Waterfowl Management Area (State)


Photograph (top) of a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck at Omaha, Douglas Co, on 11 Nov 2010 by Phil Swanson.

Literature Cited

Brogie, M.A. 2011. 2010 (22nd) Report of the NOU Records Committee.  NBR 79: 99-111.

Brogie, M.A. 2019. 2018 (30th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 87: 96-109.

Grenon, A.G. 1990. 1990 Third report of the NOU Records Committee.  NBR 58: 90-97.

Labedz, T.E. 1990. A Black-Bellied Whistling-Duck specimen from Nebraska: a first state record.  NBR 58: 49-52.

Recommended Citation

Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen.  2020.  Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis). In Birds of Nebraska — Online.

Birds of Nebraska – Online

Updated 14 Oct 2020