Ducks

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The black-bellied whistling duck (dendrocygna autumnalis) has a range that extends from the gulf coast states of the United States, including Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina, down through Mexico, Central America, and into South America as far as northern Argentina.They are mainly residential birds with some minor movement in the most northern and southern parts of their ranges during the respective colder periods. They tend to frequent shallow freshwater lakes, ponds,  marshes, cultivated land, and reservoirs with emergent vegetation.

 

Also know as the black-bellied tree duck or whistling duck, it is a medium sized duck measuring from 19" to 22" in length with a wingspan from 30" to 37".It has a black belly and a short black tail, a pale gray face and neck, and a rich chestnut cap and back of the neck. The chest and back are chestnut brown and they have a broad white wing stripe. The bill is red and the feet are pink. They have a distinctive thin white eye ring and the underside of their wings is white.

The black-bellied whistling duck feeds mainly at night on seeds and other plant matter like submerged vegetation. They also suppliment their diet with some insects, snails, crustaceans and other aquatic animals..

 

They are a very gregarious and noisy bird and seem very tame even in the wild. If you hear al lot of noise around a body of water from birds, it is probably from the black-bellied whistling ducks. They usually nest in hollow trees, but will nest in chimneys, abandoned buildings, nest boxes, and even on the ground if necessary. When not breeding, they sometimes form large flocks.

Picture of a black-bellied whistling duck in Tampa, Florida's Lettuce Lake Park as a fine art nature print for the wall of your home or office.

Title: Whistling Duck

Picture of black-bellied whistling ducks in Argentina's Esteros del Ibara as a fine art nature print for the wall of your home or office.

Title: Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks

Picture of a black-bellied whistling duck and its chicks in a marsh near Rubonia, Florida as a fine art nature print for the wall of your home or office.

Title: Watchful Eyes

Picture of a black-bellied whistling ducklings in a marsh near Rubonia, Florida as a fine art nature print for the wall of your home or office.

Title: Whistling Ducklings

Picture of a black bellied whistling duck in Lakeland, Florida's Circle B Bar Preserve as a fine art nature print for the wall of your home or office.

Title: Saturday Bath 2

 

Picture of a black bellied whistling duck protecting her ducklings as a fine art nature print for the wall of your home or office.

Title: Protective Mother

Picture of a family of black-bellied whistling ducks feeding in a pond near Bishops Harbor, FL as a fine art nature print for the wall of your home or office.

Title: Family Picnic

The blue wiinged teals (anas discors) encompasse all of North America except for western and northern Alaska, the northern Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories, and northeastern part of Canada. They are rare in the desert southwest and the west coast of the United States. They winter throughout the southern United States down through Central America and into South America as far as Central Chili and Brazil. They fly in flocks from north to south during the winter migration, sometimes flying long distances over open ocean. They occassionally show up in Europe.

 

Blue winged teals are a small dabbling duck measuring between 14.2" to 16.1" with a wingspan of 22" to s4.4." Adult males have a greying head with a white facial crescent and a light brown body with a white patch near its black tail. Adult females are a mottled brown with a whitish area at the base of their bill. Both sexes have sky blue coverts, the controur feathers that cover the flight feathers at the leading edges of the wings, and a green speculum, or secondary flight feathers which are at the inner back of the wings. Males have dark speckling on the breast. Their heads are rounded and their legs are yellow.

Feeding on mud flats, fields, or shallow water with floating of shallowly submerged vegetation, blue winged teals eat mainly plant matter. They also feed on mollusks and aquatic animal life.

 

Blue winged teals prefer the shoreline rather than open water and calm or sluggish water more than fast. You will find them in inland marshes, lake, ponds, pools, and shallow streams with a lot of vegetation and also salt marsh meadows. The usually nest near open water and breed in marshes and ponds.

Picture of a pair of blue wing teals in Lakeland, Florida's Circle B Bar Preserve as a fine art nature print for the wall of your home or office.

Title: Teal Couple

Picture of a blue wing teal and reflection in Lakeland, Florida's Circle B Bar Preserve as a fine art nature print for the wall of your home or office.

Title: Teal Reflection

Picture of a blue winged teal drake stretching in Lakeland, Florida's Circle B Bar Preserve as a fine art nature print for the wall of your home or office.

Title: Blue Winged Teal

The canvasback ducks (aythya valisineria) is a diving duck that migrates from its northern breeding grounds of Alaska and the prairie potholes of northern Canada to its wintering grounds of the southern United States, Mexico, northern Central American and Cuba. This duck likes the summer open spaces of the prarie potholes, with their emergent vegetation, and the ocean bays, lakes and ponds of its wintering grounds.

 

Similar in size to the mallard, but heavier and more compact, it is the largest North American diving bid. The adults measure from 19" to 22" in length with a wingspan between 31"and 35." It has a wedge shaped sloping head that helps distinguish it from other ducks, and a long, graceful neck. The adult drake has a chesnut red head and neck, a black breast and rump, and a blackish brown tail. Its sides, back and belly are white with fine lines that make it look grayish and resembles the weave of a canvas. The bill is black and the legs and feet are a bluish gray.The iris is a bright red during breeding season, but becomes duller in the winter.

 

The hens differ from the drakes with a light brown head and neck that turns darker as it foes into the chest and foreback. Their sides, flanks and back are a grayish brown.

The canvasback duck particularly likes wild celery, both buds and rhizomes, and sago pondweed. They also feed on seeds and the buds of other plants, leaves, tubers, roots, snails and insect larvae, sometimes dabbling at the surface, and sometimes diving as deep as thirty feet to get what they want.

Picture of canvasback hens resting in a marshy area of Manatee County, Florida as a fine art nature print for the wall of your home or office.

Title: Canvasback Hens

The common merganser (mergus merganser) is found in forested areas with rivers and lakes from lower Alaska, across Canada to the Atlantic, down to New England, then diagonally across the United States to the southwest and Mexico. Occassionally found in the southeastern United States all the way to Florida. It is a short to mediaum range migrant, moving away from areas where the rivers and lakes freeze in the winter and can be found in both fresh and salt water.

 

Called a goosander in Europe and Asia, the common merganser is a large duck measuring 23" to 28" in length with a wingspan of between 31" and 38." They have a crest of longer feathers that usually lie smoothly behind their rounded heads, not normally forming an erect crest. Adult breeding males have a white body, tinged variably with salmon pink, a dark green iridescent head, and a grey tail and rump. The wings are mainly white on the inner half and black on the outer half and the back is black. Females have a rich cinnamon colored head with a small crest and a white chin. Their body is mostly grey. Females have white secondary flight feathers. Their slender bills are red to brownish red and so are their legs.

The bills of the mergansers are serrated which helps them catch their main prey, fish.They also eat mollusks, crustaceans, worms, insects and amphibians. They eat small animals and birds on the rare occasion.. They often fish in groups, driving their prey into shallow water, for easier capture.

 

When not diving, they are usually seen swimming on the surface of the water, resting on rocks in the middle of rivers, or hidden in shoreline vegetation. They usually nest in tree cavaties.. They are strong swimmers like cormorants, and can chase their prey underwater up rivers and streams.

Picture of a common merganser stretching on Sarasota Bay, Florida as a fine art nature print for the wall of your home or office.

Title: Stretch

The fulvous whistling-duck (dendrocigna bicolor) is one of the most wide spread waterfowl species and can be found in tropical regions around the world.from the southern United States, the West Indies, and Mexico down to South America, sub Saharan Africa, and on the Indian subcontinent.

 

Look for them mainly in freshwater wetlands, especially shallow impoundments managed for rice.They also feed in flooded grasslands and pastures.

 

They feed mainly on seeds and particularly like rice but also like other seeds, water plants and aquatic invertebrates. They can be observed feeding both day and night..

Picture of fulvous whistling-ducks as a fine art nature print for the walls of your home or office.

Title:   Fulvous Ducks

Fulvous whistling-ducks as a fine art nature print for the walls of your home or office.

Title:   Fulvous Whistling-ducks

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