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< >  Chloephaga rubidiceps - Ruddy-headed goose (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Ruddy-headed Sheldgoose
Ouette à tête rousse (French)
Bernache à tête rousse (French)
Rotkopfgans (German)
Cauquén Colorado (Spanish)
Avutarda cabeza colorado (Spanish)

Names for newly-hatched

Gosling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B3, B4, B8, B19, B25, B26.

Aviculture references:
J23.13.w7
B7, B29, B30, B31, B40 B95, B97, B128.w1, B128.w2
D1, D8

Other References

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Aviculture Information

Notes

General information:
  • Sheldgeese are generally hardy, and mostly aggressive particularly in the breeding season, so that pairs require a separate pen. A pen for a pair of these birds may be 80% grazing land to 20% water, with a minimum size of 200 square metres for the smaller species (e.g. Orinoco goose) and 300 square metres for the larger species.
  • Grazing birds, their grass (sward of less than 3 inches 7.5cm preferred) should be supplemented with wheat and pellets outside the breeding season and breeders pellets before and during the breeding season. Additional green food should be provided when there is insufficient grass.
  • Sheltered nest sites may be needed for species which nest early in the year. Ground-level nest boxes, open to the ground, 20x16x16 inches (50x40x40cm), with a ground level entrance hole and containing e.g. dry grass as nesting material.

(B7, B29, B40, B95, B128.w1, D1)

Species-specific information:

  • Ruddy-headed geese are fairly winter-hardy. They require clean water, preferably running, and good grazing. They may be aggressive (although not all individuals are aggressive) and therefore pairs often require a separate enclosure, although they may be kept with large geese and swans in a very large area. These sheldgeese may be fed wheat, pellets, greenfood, grass, bread: plenty of green food and grazing should be available.
  • Ruddy-headed geese are bred irregularly rather than easily. Large, shallow nest holes in close ground cover should be provided, also a kennel or wigwam. Eggs are usually laid end of March to May. Parent rearing is suggested. A second clutch may be laid if the female does not incubate the first clutch of eggs.
  • Hybridisation is not common, but fertile hybrids have been reported with Chloephaga picta - Upland goose

(J23.13.w7, B29, B30, B31, B40, B94, B97, B128.w2, D1).

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme recommended average closed ring size: P 14.0mm; some males Q 15.0mm (D8).

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 18-20 inches 45-50cm (B3); 45-52.5cm (B1)
Adult weight General 2000g (B3, B1); mean 4.4 lbs. (B8).
Male --
Female --
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Black.
Variations (If present) --
Eyes (Iris) Male Brown.
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Black.
Eyes (Iris) Brown.

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Legs

Adult Male Orange with black markings.
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Orange with black markings.

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Plumage

Adult Male Head and neck bright chestnut, with white ring around eye, grey ring base of neck. Breast, flanks and belly buff barred with black, shading to chestnut on under-tail coverts. Tail and rump black.

Upperparts pale/mid grey. Wings: secondaries and coverts white except greater secondary coverts (speculum) metallic green, tertials brown, primaries black.

Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Duller, with speculum dark brown.

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Underparts including most of neck and face silver-grey. Upperparts including crest and hindneck blackish. Black mark over eyes.
Bill: --
Feet: --

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Begins September/October.
No. of Clutches --

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Nest placement and structure

On the ground among boulders or hidden in vegetation, nest has down lining.

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average --
Range 5-8 (B1); 3-8 (B8).
Egg Description Cream-buff/pale brown. Size: 65 x 48mm.

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Incubation

About 30 days (B1); 29-30 days (B8).

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Hatching

Synchronous.

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Fledging

60-80 days (B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males Probably two to three years old.
Females Probably two to three years old.

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Forages mainly on land, digs with bill.
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building In single pairs or loose groups.
Incubation By female only, with male guarding.
Newly-hatched Tended by both parents. Sometimes broods merge.
Juveniles

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Territorial while breeding, otherwise sociable.
Inter-specific Mix with Chloephaga poliocephala - Ashy-headed goose and less frequently with Chloephaga picta - Upland goose.

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Sexual Behaviour

Strong, permanent pair bonds.

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Predation in Wild

Patagonian fox Dusicyon griseus - introduced to Falklands.

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Activity Patterns

Mainly terrestrial but also found on the water.
Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

Basically vegetarian. Roots, stems, leaves and seed-heads of grasses and sedges.

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Newly-hatched

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Breeding: Tierra del Fuego and Falkland Islands. Winter: north to Buenos Aires province, Argentina.

Tierra del Fuego population migratory; Falklands population sedentary but with local movements.

Occasional and Accidental

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Introduced

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Habitat

Open coastal grasslands and meadows.

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Not considered threatened, although population has declined (B1).

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats Predation by Patagonian fox Dusicyon griseus (introduced to Falklands). Also persecuted as pest (B,. B8).

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Captive Populations

Well represented in collections.(B8).

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Trade

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