Birds of the Bible – Whistling Ducks

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks forming V

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks forming V

We keep encountering Whistling Ducks as we visit the zoos and as we go birdwatching, especially at Circle B Bar Reserve. There we get to see the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks quite frequently. At Palm Beach Zoo, I got tickled at the feet of the Black-bellieds. This week at Lowry Park Zoo, we took photos of their Spotted Whistling Duck which are fairly new residents.

Spotted Whistling Duck by Lee at LPZ Cropped

Spotted Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna guttata) by Lee at LPZ

I checked the e-Sword Bible program and can not find any “Ducks” or “Waterfowl” in Scripture by name, only in references to all birds being created, etc. They are still neatly created birds and are a joy to watch.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Feet by Lee at PB Zoo

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Feet by Lee at PB Zoo

There are three verses that refer to a “whistle” and in all of them it is the Lord who is doing the whistling.

He will lift up a banner to the nations from afar, And will whistle to them from the end of the earth; Surely they shall come with speed, swiftly. (Isaiah 5:26 NKJV) (For judgment)

And it shall come to pass in that day That the LORD will whistle for the fly That is in the farthest part of the rivers of Egypt, And for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. (Isaiah 7:18 NKJV) (For judgment)

I will whistle for them and gather them, For I will redeem them; And they shall increase as they once increased. (Zechariah 10:8 NKJV) (for redemption)

Whistling ducks are found in the tropics and subtropics. As their name implies, they have distinctive whistling calls. The whistling ducks have long legs and necks, and are very gregarious, flying to and from night-time roosts in large flocks. Both sexes have the same plumage, and all have a hunched appearance and black underwings in flight.

The first whistling ducks were described by Carl Linnaeus in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae in 1758: the Black-bellied Whistling Duck (then Anas autumnalis) and the West Indian Whistling Duck (then Anas arborea). In 1837, William John Swainson named the genus Dendrocygna to distinguish whistling ducks from the other waterfowl.

The whistling ducks or tree ducks are a subfamily, Dendrocygninae of the duck, goose and swan family of birds, Anatidae. They are not true ducks. In other taxonomic schemes, they are either considered a separate family Dendrocygnidae, or a tribe Dendrocygnini in the goose subfamily Anserinae. The subfamily has one genus, Dendrocygna, which contains eight living species, and one undescribed extinct species from Aitutaki of the Cook Islands.

The eight species of whistling duck are currently recognized in the genus Dendrocygna. However, Johnsgard considers the White-backed Duck (Thalassornis leuconotus) from Africa and Madagascar to be distinct ninth species, a view first proposed in 1960 and initially supported by behavioral similarities. Later, similarities in anatomy, duckling vocalizations, and feather proteins gave additional support. Molecular analysis in 2009 also suggested that the White-backed Duck was nested within the whistling duck clade. (Wikipedia with editing)

White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata) by Dan

Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

Spotted Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna guttata) by Ian

West Indian Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arborea)

Fulvous Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor)

Plumed Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna eytoni) Zoo Miami’s by Dan

Wandering Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata) – Video by Nick

Lesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica) Zoo Miami’s by Dan

White-backed Duck (Thalassornis leuconotus) ©WikiC

(All sounds are from xeno-canto, but they didn’t have an audio for the White-backed Duck)


Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans Family Page

Wikipedia’s pages for the Whistling Ducks and the White-backed Duck


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