Approx. 3 feet
Southern half of South America
Lakes and swamps
Wild - Grains and grasses; insects and fish spawn
Zoo - Waterfowl grain mixture
Entire plumage of body and lower neck is white with remainder of the neck and head black. Bill is bluish gray with conspicuous bright red caruncle at the base, present in both male and female. Immatures have a lot of gray in plumage.
- Aggressive birds; very protective
- Mature at 3-4 years of age
- Move very awkwardly on land; flight is rapid and noisy; with labored take-off
- Generally shy disposition and hard to approach
- Feeding takes place almost entirely in water
- Voice is a whistling sound
- The birds circle each other calling repeatedly while moving the head and neck up and down. Aggressive intention by the male in defense of its territory is signaled by lowering the neck and thrusting the head forward.
Breeding season from July to November. Nests built in brackish waters. Clutch size varies from three to seven long cream colored eggs. Male guards nest and female will incubate for lengthy periods, even days, without leaving for food.