The Black-Bellied Whistling-Duck is a medium waterfowl, long-necked. Gray face with white ring round eye, red bill, chestnut neck, back and chest, black belly, rump and tail. Fine black streaking at sides of neck, most prominent on lower neck where forms dusky collar. It spends little time on the water. Much of the daytime is spent hidden in swampy areas. The jouvenile bird is paler with a gray bill. It is active at dawn and dusk, and often forages at night, looking for seeds, grain, insects and snails. Its nest is usually built in a cavity of a tree, up to 30 feet above the ground, or is sometimes on the ground hidden in vegatation. It also quite often uses nest boxes if they are near the water. It is the only North American duck with an entirely red spatulate bill.
This species was formerly known as the "Black-bellied Tree Duck".
Size: Length 21 inches.
Male: Gray face with a white ring round the eye, bright red bill, chestnut neck, back and chest and black belly, rump and tail. Its wings have black along the trailing edge and underneath and a broak white stripe above, which shows as a white patch on the side of a resting bird.
Female: Similar to male.
Nest: It is lined with plant matter. Young precocial; leave nest 18-24 hours after hatching. Tended by both sexes for at least 144 days. Possibly 2 broods per year. "Dump" nests produced by more than one female laying eggs in a single nest are common, which results in documented neests containing more than 100 eggs. Will nest in tree boxes.
Eggs: 12-16 white eggs without a nest lining in a tree cavity or artificial nest box, occasionally on the ground among reeds.
Incubation: 25-30 days by both male and female, but primarily by male.