This rarity clings on to survival thanks to its colony on the Falklands
What you need to know about the Ruddy-headed Goose
Our Expert Says… "It can be difficult to distinguish this species from the female Upland Geese, but your guide will point out the tell-tale differences so you can be sure to tick this one off your spotting list."
The ruddy-headed goose was once common on the plains of southern Chile and the Falkland Islands but is now very rare on the mainland. This makes the Falklands population of ruddy-headed geese an important breeding group for the survival of the species.
The mainland population has reached the brink of extinction because of predation by the introduced South American Grey Fox, which was used to reduce rabbit populations but has had dramatic effects on other wildlife. The Falklands Island population is thought to be healthy and stable, with about 6,000 individuals, compared to just a few hundred remaining in Chile.
The head and upper part of the neck of this goose is a rich brown color, and hence the descriptive name for the species. The rest of the bird is a buff color, with pale grey wings. It is sometimes confused with the female Upland Goose, but the ruddy-headed geese are smaller and with fewer bars on the breast feathers with a very distinct brown neck (rather than gradually diffusing into the breast). Your expert Antarctic naturalist guides will help you ensure you have the correct species in your binoculars!
This goose builds a loose nest made of grass and lined with feathers where it lays between 5 and 8 eggs each October. They prefer to nest close to established ponds, and outside the breeding season, they will form loose flocks that forage together.