Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

White-faced Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna viduata)


French: Dendrocygne veuf German: Witwenpfeifgans Spanish: Suirirí cariblanco
Other common names: White-faced Tree Duck

Anas viduata


, 1766,

Cartagena, Colombia


A distinctive species, apparently most closely linked to D. autumnalis. Monotypic.


Tropical America from Costa Rica (where probably extinct) S to N Argentina and Uruguay; sub-Saharan Africa from S Mauritania and Senegal E to Eritrea and S to South Africa; Madagascar and Comoro Is.

Descriptive notes

38–48 cm; 502–820 g. Dorsal and scapular feathers longer than in other Dendrocygna. Front part of head, chin and throat white, contrasting with black... read more


Most typical is a sibilant trisyllabic whistle “swee-swee-sweeoo”, lasting 1·5–2 seconds, given in... read more


Wide variety of wetlands, including some artificial ones, and showing preference for fresh water in... read more

Food and feeding

More varied than in other whistling-ducks, consisting of vegetable matter (grass, seeds, rice) and also aquatic invertebrates (molluscs,... read more


Starts at beginning of rainy season and laying reaches peak when floods at maximum; Jul–Sept in Venezuela; Jul–Oct in Ethiopia... read more


Often subject to local movements caused by variations in availability of water, concentrating... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly abundant, particularly in Africa, where may have benefited from protection of extensive areas, but large numbers are hunted (... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). White-faced Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna viduata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 11 December 2019).