Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at Finca Cantaros

Club member Gail Hull reports seeing two Black-bellied Whistling Ducks for the first time at her Finca Cantaros in Linda Vista de San Vito. They were observed on branches emerging from the water on the western side of the Finca’s Laguna Zoncho on July 8th and on a fallen Cecropia tree in the water on the eastern side on July 9th.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks on a branch next to Laguna Zoncho, Finca Cantaros. Photo: Gail Hull

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis) are abundant permanent residents of Costa Rica, primarily in the Palo Verde N.P. (20,000 recorded) and the Caño Negro regions. Alison Olivieri told Gail that she has seen them in ponds near Potrero Grande on the way to Alta Mira.

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks favor tropical lagoons with some tree cover at edges and are found on lakes, reservoirs, wetlands, mudflats, and even occasionally on riversides. They are frequently found near agricultural land. They eat primarily grass and grain seeds, but will also eat molluscs, insects and spiders. Interestingly, they forage at night.

Finca Cántaros is a private nature reserve open to the public for a ¢2,000 entrance fee (residents). If you only want to see the ducks, inquire if they are still around!