Whistling ducks comprise a group of species that are primarily of tropical and subtropical distribution. In common with the swans and true geese (which with them comprise the subfamily Anserinae), the included species have a reticulated tarsal surface pattern, lack sexual dimorphism in plumage, produce vocalizations that are similar or identical in both sexes, form relatively permanent pair bonds, and lack complex pair-forming behavior patterns. Unlike the geese and swans, whistling ducks have clear, often melodious whistling voices that are the basis for their group name. The alternative name, tree ducks, is far less appropriate, since few of the species regularly perch or nest in trees. All the species have relatively long legs and large feet that extend beyond the fairly short tail when the birds are in flight. They dive well, and some species obtain much of their food in this manner.
Bill is black with pale band at tip. Eyes are dark brown. Legs are grey. Young is duller. Face and throat are grey or pale buff, chest is relatively dull chestnut.
Chicks have dark olive-brown upperparts with large yellow patches on wings and back. Underparts are yellow. Face is streaked. Bill and legs are grey.
Listen to the sound of White-faced Tree-Duck
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
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.
Video White-faced Tree-Duck
The White-faced Tre-Duck 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.