R.J. Weiss contacted me today about the first duck he shot on his first-ever duck hunting trip. The duck turned out to be a bit unusual, as can be seen in the photographs, below.
As R.J. suspected, the bird is, in fact, a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. This southern species is normally found in southern Texas and points south. Populations of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks are increasing and birds occasionally wander north of their normal range. Nebraska recorded it first Black-bellied Whistling-Duck in 1989 in Clay County. That first state record was also harvested by a duck hunter. Since then, Nebraska has tallied about sixteen more records of this species. The majority of Black-bellied Whistling-Duck records are during warmer months and a December record is a bit unusual, but not unprecedented. For the record, the the duck was shot on 6 December in western Douglas County.
Congratulations to R.J. on his successful and memorable inaugural duck hunt. Thanks to him for sharing his experience and photos of this notable record.
Good birding (and duck hunting)