White-faced Whistling Duck




White-faced Whistling Duck in South America

Scientific name: Dendrocygna viduata

Family: Anatidae

Spanish name: Sirirí pampa

Migration: Partial Neotropical migrant

Population estimate: > 1,000,000

Trend: Increasing

Ramsar Criterion 6 (1% level): > 10,000

IUCN Conservation status: Not known to have unfavourable conservation status


Distribution and abundances

Distributes mainly in central and northern South America east of the Cordillera de los Andes, from central Argentina to north-eastern Brazil, Venezuela (flocks of thousands in the Llanos) and Colombia. Uncommon in the Andes of Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. The highest abundances were recorded within the Pampas, in north-east Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, southern Brazil and in Venezuela (link to Abundances map). Sites reaching the 1% threshold (Ramsar Convention Criterion No. 6) are: Fundo Pecuario Masaguaral in Venezuela and Lagoa Irga and Banhado do Pontal in Brazil.


Migration and seasonality

Migrates from central Argentina (Pampas and Chaco) to the wintering areas in Uruguay and southern Brazil, where they arrive in the autumn and leave in southward migration by the spring. Migration occurs mainly along the central Argentina route (link to Seasonality map).



Lagoons and ponds with vegetation, fresh-water marshes, flooded grasslands and rice fields.


Habits and interactions with human activities

Gregarious, sometimes in flocks of thousands and mixed with other duck species like the Fulvous Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor). Common in rice fields and rural areas; also in artificial ponds close to farm houses and urban lagoons, sharing the habitat with poultry. Considered a pest and a game species in various countries of South America.



Blanco, D.E., B. López-Lanús, R.A. Dias, A. Azpiroz & F. Rilla. 2006. Uso de arroceras por chorlos y playeros migratorios en el sur de América del Sur. Implicancias de conservación y manejo. Wetlands International. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Canevari, M., P. Canevari, G.R. Carrizo, G. Harris, J. Rodríguez Mata & R. Straneck. 1991. Nueva Guía de las Aves Argentinas. Fundación Acindar. Santiago de Chile. Tome I: 200 pp. and Tome II: 182 pp.

del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds). 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 1. Ostrich to Ducks. Lynx Ed., Barcelona.

Fjeldsa, J. & N. Krabbe. 1990. Birds of the High Andes. Zoological Museum, Univ. of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Gomez-Dallmeier, F. & A.T. Cringan. 1989. Biology, conservation and management of waterfowl in Venezuela. Ed. Ex Libris, Caracas. 351 pp.

Menegheti, J.O. & J.C. Dotto. 2002. Regulaciones de caza en Rio Grande do Sul y resultados de los monitoreos de Anátidos: acuerdos y controversias; in Blanco, D.E., J. Beltrán & V. de la Balze (eds.): Primer Taller sobre la Caza de Aves Acuáticas: 59-66. Wetlands International.

Menegheti, J.O., F. Rilla & M.I. Burger. 1990. Waterfowl in South America: their status, trends and distribution. In Matthews, G.V.T. (ed.): Managing Waterfowl Populations: 97-103. Proc. IWRB Symposium, Astrakhan 1989. IWRB Publ. 12. Slimbridge, UK.

Meyer de Schauensee, R. & W. Phelps Jr. 1978. A Guide to the Birds of Venezuela. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, NJ.

Olrog, C.C. 1963. Lista y distribución de las aves argentinas. Opera Lilloana IX, Tucumán.

Olrog, C.C. 1968. Las aves sudamericanas: Una guía de campo. Tomo I. Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Fundación - Instituto Miguel Lillo, Tucumán, Argentina.

Rodríguez Mata, J., F. Erize & M. Rumboll. 2006. Guía de Campo Collins – Aves de Sudamérica: No Passeriformes. Harper Collins Ltd.

Wetlands International. 2006. Waterbird Population Estimates – Fourth Edition. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.




Authors: Daniel E. Blanco, Román Baigún & Bernabé López-Lanús

Data compiler: Darío Unterköfler

Photographer: Roberto Güller

Recommended citation: Blanco D.E., R. Baigún & B. López-Lanús. 2008. White-faced Whistling Duck in South America factsheet. Wetlands International for the Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance / WCS / USAID.



Click on the link to download the factsheet in pdf format: White-faced Whistling



Click on the map to enlarge