We describe the distribution and estimate the density of the Flightless Steamer Duck (Tachyeres pteneres) and the Kelp Goose (Chloephaga hybrida) along the Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego, during the summer season (February and March) 1997. Using a 10-min transects method from a vessel; we estimated density and evaluated its relation with different characteristics of habitats. The study area was divided a priori into six zones. Due to the scarcity of information about these species, we reviewed previous literature to evaluate seasonal movements and made comparisons with other regions of Tierra del Fuego. Differences in habitat distribution compared with the previous studies in the same area are reported. In the Beagle Channel, the Flightless Steamer Duck was more abundant than the Kelp Goose. The observed distribution seems to be a result of a preference for the inner waters of the Beagle Channel, at the western sector of the study area. In spite of the difference in the distribution of the two waterfowl, both preferred similar habitats. The preferred habitat was protected coasts such as small bays, inlets, or sectors of the islands sheltered from the prevailing winds and currents. The geese moved during autumn and winter from the Beagle Channel and Staten Island to the Atlantic coast. In terms of difference in density between areas, the Kelp Geese were twenty times more frequent in Staten Island than around the Beagle Channel, while Flightless Steamer Duck were twice as dense in Staten Island than the Beagle Channel.
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Vol. 25 • No. 2