Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Dragon Sensory Hours: The dragons will be asleep from 2 to 4:30 p.m. daily.

White-faced Whistling Duck

Dendrocygna viduata

The white-faced whistling duck is sometimes called the white-faced tree duck because of its habit of occasionally perching in trees. These ducks have long legs with a white face and neck area and a black and brown feathered body. Males and females look alike.

Range & Habitat

Whistling ducks have a huge range.  They can be found in Central America, northern and eastern South America, as well as Saharan Africa, and Madagascar.  These ducks prefer freshwater wetlands and spots by rivers and lakes

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Due to their large numbers and their large range, this species is not in danger. However, these birds are threatened by bird diseases, hunting and loss of habitat.


In the Wild - grass, seeds, aquatic plants, small aquatic invertebrates.

At the Zoo: Waterfowl mix.

Life Span

In the Wild: 10 years
In Human Care: 12 years

Fun Facts about the White-faced Whistling Duck

  •  The call of this duck isn’t a quack, but rather a high-pitched whistle, hence its name.
  •  Although they have broad wings, they’re not fast but they do maneuver well in the air.
  •  When alarmed, these ducks freeze and stand straight.
  •  After they breed, white-faced whistling ducks go through a flightless molt that lasts 18-25 days.


Henry Vilas Zoo (Ed.). (2021). White-faced Whistling Duck. Retrieved February 1, 2021, from

Oakland Zoo (Ed.). (2017). White Faced Whistling Duck. Retrieved February 1, 2021, from

Oregon Zoo (Ed.). (n.d.). White-faced whistling duck. Retrieved February 1, 2021, from

San Francisco Zoo. (2017). White-faced Whistling Duck. Retrieved February 1, 2021, from


Updated June 13, 2023
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