Monkey Island

Ringed teal

Ringed teal, Callonetta leucophrys

Before the mid 1980s this was a very rare bird in zoos. As a result of captive breeding, it is now abundant in both public and private collections. It is not closely related to other ducks called “teal” and may be more related to wood ducks. It is unusual among ducks in not diving. In its native tropical Argentina and Southern Brazil, it nests in trees, and sometimes the stick nests of Monk parrots.

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Rosy-billed pochard

Rosy-billed pochard, Netta peposaca

This brightly-colored South American relative of the Canvasback, Redhead, and Scaups is another widely kept zoo duck that thrives in captivity. In contrast to the purplish-black and gray-pinstriped male, the female is mostly brown and lacks a knob on its beak, which is black instead of red.

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White-faced whistling duck

White-faced whistling duck, Dendrocygna viduata

Widespread in both tropical America and Africa, this striking primitive duck breeds so well in captivity that there are well over a thousand in the world’s zoos, making it one of the most widespread zoo birds. Like other whistling ducks, they can be very noisy. Males and females are colored the same. Two of its relatives, the Fulvous and Black-bellied whistling ducks (D. autumnalis and D. bicolor), breed in Texas and both can also be seen at the DWA.

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Black-necked swan

Black-necked swan, Cygnus melanocoryphus

This magnificent bird was first bred in captivity, in Europe, more than 160 years ago, and his been highly prized in zoos and important private collections ever since. Found in southern South America and the Falkland Islands, it occurs in both fresh and salt water. Breeding pairs are devoted parents and carry their growing young on their back, almost sinking under their weight.

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Orinoco goose

Orinoco goose, Neochen jubata

Not closely related to North American geese, this is an inhabitant of jungle rivers. Though it occupies a large range in northern South America, it is classified as Near Threatened. Despite a reputation for not tasting very good, it is still hunted, but deforestation is a greater threat since it nests in trees in the wild. It is found in only a few of the world’s zoos, but several have made a commitment to breeding it. During their noisy territorial defense displays, they assume such an upright position that it looks as if they might fall over backwards.

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White-faced saki

White-faced saki, Pithecia pithecia

Before the 1970s, this Northern South American monkey was very rare in captivity, but an improved understanding of its diet and health have led to this species being bred frequently, so that it is now one of the most widely-kept New World primates in American zoos. This is one of a relatively small number of primates where the sexes are easily told by their color; males are black with white faces, while females are grayish with a whitish line on either side of the muzzle.

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Red-handed tamarin

Red-handed tamarin, Saguinus midas

Of the many kinds of small South American monkeys known as tamarins, most exhibit highly contrasting colors. This species is no exception. Most of its fur is dark, but its feet are bright orange. Another common name is Golden-handed tamarin, reflecting its scientific name, which commemorates King Midas and his mythical golden touch. This monkey is abundant in its Northeastern South American Range.

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