The Ruddy-headed Goose (Chloephaga rubidiceps) is a large sheldgoose, which breeds in southernmost South America.
It breeds on open grassy plains in Tierra del Fuego, Chile and the Falkland Islands. The South American birds are now very rare. They winter on lowlands in southern Argentina, some distance north of the breeding range. The Falklands population is resident.
The lined nest is built amongst grass tussocks, and 4-11 eggs are laid. This terrestrial species favours damp upland forest clearings and feeds by grazing; it rarely swims. It forms flocks outside the breeding season, often mixed with Ashy-headed Goose.
Ruddy-headed Goose is a stocky 45-50cm bird with a pale grey back, and black-barred rich buff underparts. The head and upper neck are chestnut brown. Sexes are similar, but immature birds are duller.
In flight this species shows black primaries, with the rest of the wing white except for a broad green bar. The male's call is a soft whistle, and the female's is a harsh cackle.
This species remains numerous in the Falklands, despite competition from grazing cattle and sheep, but the South American population has been reduced to a few hundred birds not only by livestock farming, but especially predation by the Argentine Fox, which was introduced to control rabbits.