Chloephaga picta Gmelin, 1789 ♂
Common names: Lesser Upland Goose, Magellan Goose [En], Ouette de Magellan, Bernache Magellan [Fr], Magelhaengans [Nl], Magellangans [De], Oca di Magellano [It], Cauquén Común [Es], Macellan Kazı [Tu]
Virelles, HAINAUT ● Belgium
About the shot: This Lesser upland goose, probably farm raised, arrived recently on the Lake Virelles lake and stays with the swans.
Description: These birds are 60–72.5 centimetres long and weigh 2.7–3.2 kilograms.
A greenish-bronze speculum is located on the inner secondary flight feathers of the adult male.
Two subspecies are recognised:
• C. p. picta Gmelin, 1789: South Chile and South Argentina; winters North to Central Chile and North Argentina
• C. p. leucoptera: Falkland Islands
Not only do the sexes have different plumage, but the two subspecies differ slightly in appearance, while the male of the mainland subspecies occurs in two distinct forms. The white form of the male lesser upland goose has a white head, neck, breast and belly, with black barring on the rear flanks and mantle. The wings are boldly patterned black, white and metallic green, and the tail is black. The barred form is identical to the white form, except that the entire undersurface of the body is barred black and white. In contrast with both forms of the male, the female lesser upland goose has a cinnamon-brown head and neck, cinnamon-white underparts, flanks and mantle, all of which are heavily barred black, and a black tail, glossed with green.
The male Falkland upland goose is slightly larger than its mainland counterpart, but in appearance closely resembles the white form, with narrower black barring on the rear flanks. Similarly, the female Falklands upland goose is larger than the mainland female, and has a brighter reddish-cinnamon head, and wider cinnamon barring on the underparts.
Biology: The upland goose is primarily a herbivore, feeding mostly of seeds, leaves, stems, and other plant matter. They are very gregarious, and flocks of thousands of birds can be found grazing in one pasture alone.
They breed in densely-vegetated areas on plains or slopes, mostly in September and October, or November on the Falkland Islands. Males attract females through a courtship display in which they whistle loudly, to which the female responds with softer cackles. They are monogamous, and if a male encroaches on another's territory, a violent fight may break out. Males have been found injured or dead after these fights.
The nest is on the ground, concealed by dense vegetation, often located near water. A clutch consists of 5-8 eggs which are incubated for about 1 month. When the chicks hatch, they are covered in greyish-brown down. They don't remain in the nest for more than a day, quickly going to a nearby water source or feeding area, and are able to feed themselves from birth. They fledge in 9–10 weeks and reach maturity in 3 years.
Habitat: They are found in southern temperate grasslands, arid lowland scrubs, pastures and agricultural lands, from sea level up to around 1,500 meters.
Distribution: This bird is indigenous to the southern part of South America. There is also a sizeable introduced population on the sub-Antarctic South Georgia Island.
Wikipedia, Upland goose