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Andean Goose Oressochen melanopterus

  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Abigail Duvall

The Andean Goose is a large black and white sheldgoose with red bill and orange legs and feet. Both sexes have identical plumage, with the male being slightly larger in size than the female. The voices of the male and female are easily distinguishable, with the male possessing a high-pitched twittering whistle and the female a lower-pitched cackling.

Andean Geese are gregarious most of the year and are noisy. Loose flocks break up into pairs during the breeding season, during which the birds seek out a place to create a nest scrape in low grassy vegetation. Only the female incubates, but the male stands on guard for the 30-day incubation period. Both parents raise the young. Andean Geese are terrestrial grazers and are reluctant to take to the water unless with young.

These sheldgeese inhabit the Andes above 3000 m from central Peru and Bolivia south to Mendoza, Argentina and Nuble, Chile.

Other names for the Andean Goose include Andengans (German), Bernache des Andes (French), guayata and ganso andino (Spanish) (Johnsgard 1978).

With a wide range, large populations, and inaccesible habitat, Andean Geese are considered to be at little risk of severe population decline, and are rated as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN.


© Matthew D. Medler

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Duvall, A. (2010). Andean Goose (Oressochen melanopterus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.