Orinoco Goose

About the Orinoco Goose

The Orinoco Goose (Neochen jubata) is a waterfowl species that lives along forested waterways and marshlands in South America. Unlike the familiar species of geese that are frequently seen on lakes and rivers in North America and Europe, the Orinoco Goose is much less common. Although it has a huge range that includes the Amazon basin, Paraguay, and much of southern Brazil, it’s rarely encountered outside of remote, protected areas.

Larger than a Mallard yet smaller than a Canada Goose, the Orinoco Goose is one of the easiest species of birds to see when traveling along remote Amazonian Rivers because they tend to hang out on sandbars and open, rocky areas of rivers. Although this striking looking species of goose lives in the Amazon basin, it’s not really a forest bird. However, unlike most species of ducks and geese, it’s rarely seen floating in the water either!

This interesting bird prefers marshes and the open, sparsely vegetated parts of big rivers where it can graze on succulent grasses and other riverside vegetation. In general, it prefers the same type of habitat as Capybaras and forages on similar types of vegetation. Indeed, both Capybaras and Orinoco Geese are often seen near each other although they don’t typically forage for food together.

This waterfowl species is strikingly plumaged with a long, gray neck, chestnut body, and dark green wings. It also has long, bright pink legs and feet better suited for walking than swimming. Its handsome coloration actually helps this species blend into the rocky beaches it prefers, especially since it moves around very little.

orinoco goose
Orinoco geese on the river bank

A few interesting facts about the Orinoco Goose:

  • Named after one of the longest rivers in South America: This bird is named after the Orinoco River, the most important waterway in northern South America. Large numbers of Orinoco Geese occur in the savannahs that occur near the river of the same name.
  • Restricted to South America: The Orinoco Goose is only found in the Amazon basin, the Orinoco basin, and in the Pantanal wetlands of southern Brazil and Paraguay.
  • Threatened by hunting: Despite its large range, this species has disappeared from many areas due to overhunting and has therefore become restricted to remote, protected places.
  • Related to African species of geese: The closest relative of the Orinoco Goose is the similar Egyptian Goose of Africa.

Check out this great shot of an Orinoco Goose on National Geographic.

How to see an Orinoco Goose when taking an Amazon jungle tour:

  • Take a boat ride to the Tambopata Research Center: This striking goose species is often seen along the section of the Tambopata River between the Malinowski checkpoint and the Tambopata Research Center. Orinoco Geese occur along this part of the river because it receives strict protection and has large areas of stony and grassy beaches preferred by this species.
  • Watch the shore of the river: Despite their large size and striking plumage, Orinoco Geese can be overlooked if you don’t watch for them. They don’t move around much and can thus blend into the background. Fortunately, when you take a Peruvian jungle tour with Rainforest Expeditions, your guide will always be watching for, and help you see, Orinoco Geese and other interesting animals.

To experience the wild beauty of Orinoco Geese, take a jungle adventure tour with Rainforest Expeditions.

As Seen in

National Geographic
The Huffington Post
yahoo News
Popular Science