black-bellied whistling duck, breeding, Arkansas, Dendrocygna


The Black-Bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) was a rare bird first reported from Arkansas in 1982, when it was seen in Hempstead Co. in southwestern Arkansas. Observations surged in parts of the state about 2005, then again about 2016, and the bird is now fairly common seasonally in many parts of the state. By use of online sources for citizen science, we elucidate the history of occurrence and present analysis of seasonal distribution of this bird in Arkansas. Individuals occur in Arkansas throughout the year, but observations are most common and widely distributed from March-September, after which most individuals likely migrate southward. Most observations are of a few birds, but a maximum of 1,000 has been estimated at one location and time. The birds have been observed in 52 counties, but the longest and most consistent observations have been in counties near the Red River in southwestern Arkansas, and counties bordering the Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers. The first report of nesting was in Lafayette Co. of southwestern Arkansas, in 1996. Since then, nesting has been reported in 14 counties.