Upland goose

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Upland goose
Chloephaga picta.jpg
Female (left) and male (right) in Argentina
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Tadorninae
Genus: Chloephaga
Species: C. picta
Binomial name
Chloephaga picta
(Gmelin, 1789)
  • C. p. picta (Gmelin, 1789),
    (lesser Magellan goose)
  • C. p. leucoptera (Gmelin, 1789),
    (greater Magellan goose)

Foetopterus ambiguus
Moreno & Mercerat, 1891

The upland goose or Magellan Goose (Chloephaga picta) is a sheldgoose of the shelduck-sheldgoose subfamily of the Anatidae, the biological family that includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl such as the geese and swans. This bird is indigenous to the southern part of South America.[1]


female Upland goose caring for her offspring, El Calafate, Argentina

These birds are 60–72.5 centimetres (23.6–28.5 in) long and weigh 2.7–3.2 kilograms (6.0–7.1 lb).[2] Males have a white head and breast, whereas the females are brown with black-striped wings and yellow feet, and could be mistaken for ruddy-headed geese. A greenish-bronze speculum is located on the inner secondary flight feathers of the adult male.[3]

In Chapter VI of On the Origin of Species, author Charles Darwin noted that the upland goose has webbing between its toes that appeared to be "rudimentary in function, though not in structure", and concluded that this was a vestigial anatomical feature in this bird.[4]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

They are found in southern temperate grasslands, arid lowland scrubs, pastures and agricultural lands, from sea level up to around 1,500 meters.[3] There is also a sizeable introduced population on the sub-Antarctic South Georgia Island.[5]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Chloephaga picta". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Wildlife Information Network (2013). "Chloephaga picta - Upland goose". Wildpro - the electronic encyclopaedia and library for wildlife. Wildlife Information Network. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  3. ^ a b Stang, D (2012). "Chloephaga picta (Magellan/Upland Goose)". ZipcodeZoo. Potomac Maryland: ZipcodeZoo.com. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  4. ^ Darwin, C (1859). "Difficulties on theory". On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life (Full image view 1st ed.). London: John Murray. pp. 171–206. 
  5. ^ A Field Guide to the Wildlife of South Georgia; Princeton University Press 2012