Bird of the Month October: Andean Goose

Illustration from Birds of Bolivia Field Guide by Cristopher Vogel



Andean Goose

Scientific name: Oressochen meanopterus

Spanish name: Ganso Andino (waćhwa – Quechua)

Status: Least Concern (IUCN red list of endangered species)

Habitat and behaviour:

Uncommon to common along borders of lakes and wetlands in high Andes, well above 3000 meters. Mostly to be seen in pairs, or small flocks.

Mainly feeds on dry ground in areas with short grass, herbs but also observed foraging in shallow waters. Males are generally much larger than female.

It is unmistakable in its habitat with easily recognizable voice including low, drawn-out quacks and soft, hollow or croaking honks.

The Andean Goose have developed a mutation in their hemoglobin that has led to a vast increase in hemoglobin-oxygen affinity in the bird’s blood, making the species much more resistant to the low oxygen levels of its habitat.

Armonía is currently working with Quechua and Aymara communities to restore highly fragmented Polyelpis woodlands and high andean wetlands, an ecosystem where also Andean Goose can thrive. 

Illustration from Birds of Bolivia Field Guide by Cristopher Vogel


To ensure that the Polylepis Forest program is a success we need to enhance our conservation measures and create behavioural changes.

The program urgently needs support to fund the ongoing protection of the remaining Polylepis forest fragments, or there will not be enough habitat to support viable populations of Royal Cinclodes and Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant.

If you would like to support the Polylepis Forest program – to save these endangered and highly specialized birds – please donate.


Thank you for your support

Discover more

Bird of the Month February: Bolivian Blackbird
Polylepis forests: saving a biodiversity hotspot of the tropical Andes
Bird of the Month March: Blue-throated Macaw

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