Harteman Wildfowl, presented by Jan Harteman

Andean goose

Chloephaga melanoptera

Andesgans / Andengans / Ouette des Andes

 

Andean geese are, like other sheldgeese, relatives of shelducks (subfamily Tadorninae).

They are native to Argentina, Bolivia and the Plurinational States of Chile and Peru at high altitudes, usually well above 3000 meters. Possession of a haemoglobin with high oxygen affinity is an adaption in Andean geese to high altitudes (find more info here).

It is largely terrestrial and avoids swimming except in emergencies. This heavily built bird has a tiny pink bill and white plumage except for black in the wings and tail. The female is similar to the male, but is smaller.

The Andean goose is a grazing species, eating grasses and herbs. It nests on the ground in a bare scrape near water, laying 6-10 eggs. It is territorial in the breeding season, but otherwise forms small flocks.

 

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern (IUCN, 2012).

 

More info: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22679972/0

 

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Above: an adult pair of Andean geese at WWT Slimbridge

 

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Above: an adult pair of Andean geese at WWT Slimbridge

 

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Above: an adult pair of Andean geese preening their feathers.

 

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Above: an adult pair of Andean geese preening their feathers.

 

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Above: juvenile Andean goose

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