Orinoco Goose Oressochen jubatus
Version: 1.0 — Published March 8, 2013
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Distribution in the Americas
Distribution: Widely distributed in South America, from Venezuela to northern Argentina, primarily east of the Andes, but with one report from the Peruvian coast (Aranzamend et al. 2010). Primary habitat is in wetlands and savannas in the llanos of Venezuela, Colombia and northern Bolivia. Also in the Araguaia River, mainly at Cantão and Ilha do Bananal, and in forested river systems seasonally. A little known breeding population of several hundred recently described in the middle Río Juruá, Brazil (Endo Haugaasen and Peres, in press). Nearly extirpated from Peru, with only 1 known breeding population. Declining throughout its range due to hunting and loss of large trees for cavity nests.
Migration: Different populations of the Orinoco Goose differ in migration strategies. Birds from the llanos of Venezuela are nonmigratory (Kriese 2004), as may be the case for birds in the Colombian llanos. However, birds from the Llanos de Moxos, Bolivia undertake a partial migration, with some birds remaining year-round and breeding in Bolivia, and some portion undertaking migrations to breed elsewhere in the western Amazon. Currently, birds from the Llanos de Moxos, Bolivia are known to migrate approximately 700 km (one-way) to Peru and also nearly 1000 km to the Río Juruá, Brazil (Davenport et al. 2012; Davenport, Endo, and Peres, unpublished data). The current status of the Araguaia River (Brazil) population is not known.
Distribution outside the Americas
Bird is only known from the Americas.
Orinoco Geese are found at low elevations, predominantly seasonally wet savannas. Also found on beaches and oxbow lakes of meandering Amazonian river systems during the dry season.
Orinoco Goose probably once was far more common and widespread, especially in forested Amazonian rivers where seasonal intratropical migrants. Probably once common in Peru, including in the Iquitos region, where reported as common in the 1700s, but now listed as Critically Threatened with only one known breeding population in Manu National Park, Madre de Dios (Davenport et al. 2012). Once migratory routes are lost, they may be slow to return to areas where locally extirpated.
To date, two late Pleistocene fossil species belonging to the same genus have been described: Neochen pugil and N. debilis, both from South America, and larger than N. jubata (Howard 1964, Sick 1997).