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Now available on Fast Track: Migration routes and stopover sites of Upland Geese (Chloephaga picta) in South America

Posted on 17. April, 2018.

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The Upland Goose (Chloephaga picta picta) is a migratory species of South America, which breeds from September to April in Patagonia (Argentina and Chile) and winters from May to September in the southern Pampas (Argentina). Despite some protection in both countries, this species is still persecuted and large numbers are killed by unregulated hunting. 

Therefore, precise knowledge of their migratory routes is vital to ensure protection of necessary resources and sites throughout the year. We deployed five miniaturised satellite transmitters on adult Upland Geese to gather data about breeding, wintering and stopover sites all along their migratory routes. We aimed to identify important areas in the wintering and breeding grounds through kernel density analyses, and to match these sites along the migration routes with protected areas. Tracked birds exhibited different migration routes and reached different breeding grounds. Two individuals travelled from their wintering grounds in Buenos Aires province to their presumed breeding areas in southern Patagonia. However, we also found different stopover sites from another bird in northern Patagonia, from the ones postulated before, and evidence that some Upland Geese are not large-scale migrants. Our results highlight a considerable amount of plasticity in Upland Geese migratory behaviour. This study represents an essential first step towards identifying important stopover sites along the Upland Geese flyways and it also highlights the lack of protected habitats along most of their migration routes.

Read the full article in Avian Biology Research.


Authors: Julieta Pedranaa*, Klemens Pützb, Lucía Bernadc, Juan Pablo Seco Pond, Antonella Gorosabelc, Sebastián D. Muñozc, Juan Pablo Isacchd, Ricardo Matuse, Olivia Blanke, Benno Lüthif, Melina Lunardellig and Pablo Rojasg
aConsejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Recursos Naturales y Gestión Ambiental, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), Estación Experimental Agropecuaria (EEA) Balcarce, Ruta 226 km 73.5 (7620), Balcarce, Argentina
bAntarctic Research Trust, Am Oste-Hamme-Kanal 10, 27432 Bremervörde, Germany
cRecursos Naturales y Gestión Ambiental, INTA EEA Balcarce, Ruta 226 km 73.5 (7620), Balcarce, Argentina dInstituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), CONICET, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Mar del Plata, Funes 3250 (7600) Mar del Plata, Argentina
eCentro de Rehabilitación de Aves Leñadura, Kilómetro 7 Sur, Punta Arenas, Chile
fAntarctic Research Trust (Switzerland), General-Guisanstr. 5, CH-8127 Forch, Switzerland
gOrganismo Provincial de Desarrollo Sostenible (OPDS), Calle 12 y 53 Torre II Piso 14, (1900) La Plata, Argentina

Keywords: Argentina, conservation, migration, Patagonia, satellite tracking, waterfowl

Image: Upland Goose. Photo by Panarria, Wikimedia Commons.