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Ashy-headed Goose Chloephaga poliocephala Anatidae in Tierra del Fuego woodlands Distribution and predators El canquen Chloephaga poliocephala Anatidae en bosques de Tierra del Fuego Distribucion y depredadores



Ashy-headed Goose Chloephaga poliocephala Anatidae in Tierra del Fuego woodlands Distribution and predators El canquen Chloephaga poliocephala Anatidae en bosques de Tierra del Fuego Distribucion y depredadores



Anales del Instituto de la Patagonia Serie Ciencias Naturales 30: 61-66



The Ashy-headed Goose (Chloephaga poliocephala Sclater 1857; Anatidae) is the only neotropical goose inhabiting forest habitats in Tierra del Fuego. Forests have been partialy disturbed by human exploitation and the effects of beaver (Castor canadensis Kuhl, 1820) activities after its introduction to the island. In this paper we examine whether the distribution of the Ashy-headed Goose is related to the forest disturbance in this region, because of a greater availability of nest sites and food. We also identify goose predators in different woodland habitats. Ashy-headed Goose density was higher in areas with beaver dams and lower in forests interspersed with meadows. Density was higher in managed than in continuous undisturbed forest. Although we found goose nests in all the habitats we studied they were always close to beaver dams or rivers. Geese nested above stumps, in tree hollows and among branches. Analysis of their feces showed that Fuegian red foxes (Pseudalopex culpaeus lycoides Molina 1782) is one of the goose predators especially of nests in forests but the proportion of adult geese remains in fox diet was low. The nests preyed upon by the foxes were located near beaver dams. We conclude that the Ashy-headed Goose could continue to live in Tierra del Fuego woodlands as long as human activity and beaver dam building modify forest structure.

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