White-faced Whistling-Duck Report at Pantanos de Villa Wildlife Refuge

pantanos de villa

The White-faced Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna viduata) is a very particular species that was thought to be extinct and in 2015 was observed after 100 years in the Pantanos de Villa Wildlife Refuge (Agencia EFE, 2015); in our monitoring trips it was reported and photographed in the same Natural Protected Area.

Features of the White-faced Whistling-Duck

The White-faced Whistling-Duck is a difficult species to observe; they live in freshwater wetlands, rivers, lakes, marshes, lagoons and sometimes salty water, eating grasses, seeds, aquatic plants and aquatic invertebrates.

The species has long legs with a white face and neck patch, while the rest of its head, neck, wings, back and tail are black except for the beak and legs which are slate gray. Both the male and female are similar in appearance; although in size the female is slightly larger.

White-faced Whistling-Duck

White-faced Whistling-Duck record data

The White-faced Whistling-Duck is not well known and has been reported on few occasions in Peru; being considered an extirpated species (Egg, et. 2010), however, records in the Amazon determined it to be declared a vagrant (Peruvian Bird Records Committee, 2012) and due to records from 2015 on the Peruvian coast, it could change its status to resident (Carazas, Salazar, Dávila and Podesta, 2015).

The most important records are in the Madre de Dios and Lima regions.

In the case of Madre de Dios, in 2009 by Joelson Toledo; who observed and photographed 3 individuals in Tres Chimbadas Lake, Tambopata River, and in 2010, Richard Amable observed an individual in the surroundings of the city of Puerto Maldonado (Peruvian Bird Records Committee, 2012).

On the other hand, in Lima it was recorded after 100 years, in 2015 in Park of Legends, in the Cocha de selva sector, in the Pantanos de Villa Wildlife Refuge, and in wetlands near San Pedro beach (Carazas, Salazar, Dávila and Podesta, 2015). Currently, White-faced Whistling-Duck is occasionally observed in Pantanos de Villa Wildlife Refuge.

In our expeditions, it was photographed on two occasions in May and June 2022 at Genesis Lagoon and Marvilla, respectively.

White-faced Whistling-Duck


Agencia EFE (2105). Sighting of a duck species reported in Peru after 100 years. Retrieved from https://agencias.lamula.pe/2015/04/10/especie-de-pato-extinta-fue-avistada-en-el-peru-despues-de-100-anos/agencias/

Carazas,N., Salazar, R., Davila, H., and Podestá, J., (2017). First documented record of the White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata) after 100 years in the department of Lima, Peru. Bulletin of the Union of Ornithologists of Peru (UNOP), 12(2): 20-23. Retrieved from https://boletinunop.weebly.com/uploads/6/2/2/6/62265985/boletin_unop_vol.12_n%C2%B02_2017-_carazas.pdf

Peruvian Bird Records Committee, 2012. Report of the Committee of Peruvian Bird Records (CRAP) for the period 2010 – 2011. UNOP Newsletter Vol. 7 N°2 2012 (20-23). Retrieved from https://boletinunop.weebly.com/uploads/6/2/2/6/62265985/bolet%C3%ADn_informativo_unop_vol._7_n%C2%B02._2012r.pdf

Egg, A.B., Parker, T.A., O’Neill, J.P., Lane, D.F., Stotz, D.F., & Schulenberg, T.S. (2010). Birds of Peru: Revised and Updated Edition (Revised and Updated Edition ed.). Princeton: Princeton University Press.