Environmental Research Unit, PO Box 434, Stanley, Falkland Islands
Ruddy-headed GooseChloephaga rubidiceps
Local Name: Brent Goose
Breeding Range: Falkland Islands, Chile and Argentina
Falklands Population: ~3,000 breeding pairs
World Population: ~4,000 breeding pairs
Although very similar in appearance to the female Upland Goose, closer inspection shows that the Ruddy-headed Goose is smaller with less pronounced barring to the abdomen. The Ruddy-headed Goose is also more dependent on established ponds for breeding. Nests are built of grass and lined with breast feathers, with 5 to 8 eggs being laid in October. Young leave the nest shortly after hatching, and feed themselves on invertebrates and vegetation under the supervision of the parents. Chicks fledge in January or February. Sexes are similar in appearance. The South American population has declined to the brink of extinction over recent years, but there is no evidence of such a decline in the Falklands. Even so with such a small world population, and a dependence on suitable breeding habitat, the species is very vulnerable indeed.