Environmental Research Unit, PO Box 434, Stanley, Falkland Islands
Kelp GooseChloephaga hybrida malvinarum
Breeding Range: Falkland Islands
Falklands Population: ~15,000 breeding pairs
World Population: as above (subspecies restricted to Falklands)
The Kelp Goose is a coastal bird which is found around the Falkland Islands throughout the year. The subspecies Chloephaga hybrida malvinarum is restricted to the Falklands, being larger than its South American counterpart Chloephaga hybrida hybrida. The Kelp Goose mainly inhabits rocky coasts, where it feeds primarily on green seaweed of the genus Ulva. Nests are made of grass lined with breast feathers, and situated behind the beach in tall grass or shrubbery. Between 4 and 7 eggs are laid from late October to early November. Chicks hatch a month later, and are led from the nest to feed themselves. Adults watch over the chicks until they fledge in February. The male has completely white plumage, making him prominent as he holds territory and stands guard over the incubating female or young chicks. Breeding can begin at 2 years of age..