The Orinoco Goose has a pale head and neck, chestnut flanks and mantle and blackish wings with a white speculum. The legs are red and the bill is black and pinkish. The sexes of this striking species are identical in plumage, though the males are larger; juveniles have duller plumage than adults. This is a largely terrestrial species, which will also perch readily in trees. It rarely swims or flies unless hard pressed. In flight it looks heavy, more like a goose than a duck, hence the English name. The Orinoco goose is a very territorial species in the breeding season, and usually nests in hollow trees, only occasionally on the ground. The male has a high pitched whistling call, and the female cackles like the related Egyptian goose.
Appearance: – This goose has a greyish-white head and neck, dark-brown eyes, the beak has a black upper mandible and a mostly pink lower mandible, the flanks and mantle are chestnut colored, a black rump and tail, white under-tail coverts, the wings are a glossy black with a greenish sheen and the speculum is white, the legs and feet are pinkish-red. Both sexes are alike.
Size: – Typical Adult is 24-30 inches.
Food: – Mostly grazing on grasses but will also feed on molluscs, insects and larvae.
Habitat: – Forest lakes, marshes, wet savannah areas, and freshwater wetlands in tropical South America – Columbia, Venezuela, Brazilian Amazon, Peru, Bolivia, and north Argentina.
Breeding Season: – During the dry season – January in Venezuela.
Eggs: – 6 to 10 (pale brown or creamy color).
Notes: – The Orinoco Goose is the only living member of the genus Neochen and is part of the Sheduck subfamily Tadorninae. It is a tropical goose which rarely swims or takes to flight but will perch in trees and nest in tree hollows. They are found in pairs or family groups rather than large flocks and are rarely seen on the coast. There is no obvious migration.