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Ashy-headed goose

Chloephaga poliocephala

Photo by Alex Proimos (Wikipedia)

Common name:
ashy-headed goose (en); ganso-de-cabeça-cinzenta (pt); ouette à tête grise (fr); cauquén cabecigrís (es); graukopfgans (de)

Order Anseriformes
Family Anatidae

This species breeds in southern Chile and south-western Argentina, from Temuco south to Tierra del Fuego. Outside the breeding season some individuals move north and north-east to winter as far north as Valparaíso, Chile and Bahía Blanca, Argentina. There is also a resident population in the Falkland Islands.

These birds are 50-60 cm long and weigh up to 2,3 kg.

The ashy-headed goose breeds mostly in temperate grasslands, also using coastal freshwater lakes, inland lakes, swaps and marshes. Outside the breeding season they also use pastures and arable land. This species is present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

They feed on the leaves, stems and seed heads of various grasses and sedges.

Ashy-headed geese are monogamous and mate for life. They breed in October-March. They nest in a tree hollow or on the ground among tall grass, lining the nest with down. The female lays 4-6 pale brown eggs which are incubated for 30 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching and follow the parents around until fledging, which takes place 60-80 days later.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range. There is no information on population sizes, but the overall population trend is suspected to be decreasing. Still, the ashy-headed goose is not considered threatened at present.

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