Unlike other ducks that keep to the water, the black-bellied whistling duck prefers to roam the edges of lakes and ponds and in fields where it forages for plants and seeds. While vegetation is the main diet of this bird, it will also eat snails, insects and other small life. It often perches on tree branches and logs over water.
This duck nests in tree cavities and nesting boxes where it will lay eggs without making a nest. In some areas it will create a shallow depression in the ground tucked in dense vegetation.
This goose-like duck with its long neck and long legs is expanding its range in the southern U.S. from Central America and Mexico. Its population is increasing, partly because of nesting boxes installed for them.
I came across a pair this summer perched on the railings of a floating dock on Lake Tsala Apopka, Florida. They have been here most of the summer hanging out along the edge of the lake and in nearby trees.