Monday, December 19, 2011

Orinoco Goose

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me... six Geese a'laying...

Neochen jubata
Do not fear bird people! After yesterday's Dragonfly we return to the world of feathered friends. Allow me to introduce you to the Orinoco Goose, a small species of Goose found in the northern, rainforested areas of South America. The are the only true forest Goose.

I find Orinoco Geese to be rather lovely in appearance. The contrast between the cream neck, the pink legs, and the chestnut and black wings creates a pleasing color composition (using my Art History degree!). Unlike many of our other Christmas birds so far, both male and female Orinoco Geese display the same plumage, though the males are slightly larger.

Once upon a time the Orinoco Goose was one of the most populous waterfowl species along the Orinoco River. Unfortunately, hunting and deforestation has caused their numbers to decline and they are now rare in many parts of their original range. Projects are underway to foster and protect the species, including the building of nest-boxes. Orinoco Geese nest in large trees near bodies of water, but they've been losing those nesting sites as trees get cut down. Nest-boxes placed on poles allow for the Geese to reproduce again in areas that were deforested.

IUCN Status : Near Threatened
Location : South America
Size : Length up to 30in (75cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Anseriformes
Family : Anatidae -- Genus : Neochen -- Species : N. jubata

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