The Upland Goose (Chloephaga picta) is a ground-nesting bird that has suffered a precipitous population decline in the last 60 years. We monitored Upland Goose nests with camera traps in Santa Cruz province, Argentina, to study nest disturbances that could reduce reproductive success. We studied female behavior following nest disturbance by predators, livestock, or humans and compared it with situations when females leaving the nests voluntarily. At least 34% of nests were depredated, 92% of them by culpeo (Pseudalopex culpaeus) and gray (Pseudalopex griseus) foxes; only 29% of the monitored nests were successful. Livestock sniffled, licked, and nuzzled the incubating female and the nest contents, and 2 nests were trampled. Off-bout duration was affected by the identity of the intruder. The lengths of predator and human off-bouts were similar and higher than those of foraging and livestock off-bouts. To boost reproductive success, we recommend livestock exclusions and predator control on nesting areas to discourage fox predation. Nests monitoring protocols should include as few and widely spaced visits as possible, restricted to a few people. Given the ecological similarities between the Upland Goose and congeners, including the critically endangered Ruddy-headed Goose (Chloephaga rubidiceps), we extend these recommendations to all Chloephaga spp. breeding areas.
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