White-faced Whistling Duck is widespread from Costa Rica (where it may be extinct) in the West to Madagascar and Maurice in the East; it is often abundant and seen virtually anywhere in Africa South of the Sahara except where hunted, while it is much more localised in South America. The growth of protected lands (for wildlife tourism) in Africa is a chance for that duck, and specialists think it’s global populatio might even increase. This is nevertheless not a reason to forget threatened populations in some countries such Costa Rica where it is probably already extinct. Ban hunting, increase the anti-poaching effort and avoid drying swamps can prevent future extinctions.
Despite a huge range, this species doesn’t show any geographical variation and is thus considered monotypic. It has no sister-species and is clearly differenciated visually as well as genetically from all others whistling ducks. Closest relative seems to be Black-bellied Whistling Duck that shows, however, a strikingly different plumage.
It is often living with Fulvous Whistling Duck with which it can form mixed groups.
[Species #32 of the Holistic Encyclopedia of Birds project]
All photos and text are © Valéry Schollaert and Marinella Mejia