The sound of a three note whistle is a sign that the white faced whistling duck is near. These ducks are active at night, highly social and fly in large flocks.
These birds average 15 to 19 inches in length and weigh between 1 to 1 ½ pounds. Males are usually smaller than females.
The name white-faced whistling duck comes from the bird’s white face and its characteristic three-note whistle. The bill is black, while the throat is white. The back of the head and neck are black. Legs and feet are gray. The lower neck, chest and back are rust colored, while the sides are narrowly barred black and white. The young are dark brown above, creamy yellow below with creamy spots on the back. They are long-legged and long-necked ducks.
Predators include birds of prey and carnivores.
The Zoo is protecting wildlife and habitats in Latin America through the Scott Neotropical Fund.
They are most vocal in the morning and evening, and use different whistles for different situations.
This species is highly social with flocks often numbering in the hundreds. In the non-breeding season the birds roost on banks, preening themselves and each other. Mutual preening is highly developed with this species. Foraging is done primarily at night. Normally this duck does not migrate, but flocks will travel considerable distances to find suitable feeding areas. Their flight is slow and heavy with rounded wings. They swim and dive well.These ducks are very tame and do not disperse when hearing gunshots.
Mutual preening is an important part of pair-forming and pair-maintaining behavior. The nest site is a depression in dry ground or in reed beds over water. Few or no feathers are present in the nest. Incubation is performed by both sexes. The ducklings are kept hidden among water lilies and reeds.