Black-bellied Tree-duck

In the Rio Grande Valley in Texas the Black-bellied Tree-Duck (D. autumnalis) barely enters the United States, its main distribution being in middle Mexico and CentralAmerica. It may be known by the uniform black abdomen, the other portions of the body being mainly reddish brown. The habits of this species, according to Colonel Grayson, are similar to those of the preceding except that it is rather more nocturnal in pursuit of its subsistence, visiting the dry corn-fields during the night in great numbers,and often causing considerable damage. Of its nest he says: “They breed in the hollows of large trees, and lay from twelve to fifteen eggs; the young are lowered to the ground one at a time in the mouth of the mother; after all are safely landed she cautiously leads her young brood to the nearest water. When taken young, or the eggs hatched under the common barnyard hen, they become very domestic without being confined; they are very watchful during the night, and, like the Goose, give the alarm by their shrill whistle when any strange animal or person comes about the house.” The Indian Tree-Duck (D. javanica) has been observed by Hume carrying its young in the claws, while others record their carrying them on the back.