It’s how the light strikes their chestnut brown feathers making them look red. They are black-bellied whistling ducks. Fairly new to this area, having migrated north from Central America. They mostly live in large flocks, except during mating season. They typically mate for life and both parents share equally in the raising of ducklings.
They make loud screeching noises, especially the males who fight over territory, often battling in flight, but I haven’t seen a duck with any injuries or battle scars so I assume the fights are more verbal than physical!
The word whistling is kind because the noises they make are far from whistles!
They are beautifully colored. The white on their wings is not evident until they fly. Watching they swirl and dip in perfect synchronization over the lake, with the white on their wings glistening in the sunlight, is truly gorgeous.
Here, they nest and sleep in trees, flying to high branches at dusk. It’s comical to see a tree branch lined with whistling ducks! I’ve read they also nest in bushes and reeds near water but our flocks prefer the pine trees.