Bird of the Week, August 30, 2013
Orinoco Goose



Highly social Orinoco Geese can often be seen in pairs or family groups, with the male distinguishable only by his larger size.


Although technically shelducks (mid-sized waterfowl), they are named “goose” because of their heavy flight style. Orinoco Geese often take a flying hop to perch in tree branches, but beyond resting and nesting in tree cavities, the species is terrestrial in its habits. Most feeding is done in daytime in open areas near water, but this “goose” migrates almost exclusively during twilight or at night.


The Orinoco Goose is declining across much of its range due to hunting and habitat loss, but conservation measures are ongoing in a number of protected areas. One stronghold for the goose occurs in Beni, Bolivia, in an extensive, sparsely inhabited area of lakes, marshland, and seasonally flooded savannas.


Here, ABC’s partner Asociación Armonía protects habitat and has erected artificial nest boxes for the Orinoco Goose at the Barba Azul (Blue-throated Macaw) Reserve. Recent research by Lisa Davenport and colleagues has shown that although some of the Beni’s Orinoco Geese are resident breeders, others breed in Peru’s Manu National Park and fly long distances to stay in this part of Bolivia outside the breeding season.


Watch footage of the Orinoco Goose on YouTube.






Photo by Dan Lebbin; Range Map, NatureServe