The Coscoroba (Coscoroba coscoroba), endemic to southern South America, is traditionally considered as an early branch from the common ancestor leading to true geese and swans. Recently, an interesting association between the Coscoroba and Cape Barren goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) as sister groups has been proposed. We present here the characterization of the karyotype of C. coscoroba using whole chromosome probes derived from Gallus gallus macrochromosomes. Our data showed that C. coscoroba has the highest diploid number among Anseriformes (2n = 98), and the conservation of macrochromosome pairs 1–10 indicates that the increase in diploid number has occurred by fission events involving only the microchromosomes. Moreover, the similarity between the diploid numbers of C. coscoroba (2n = 98) and Cereopsis novaehollandiae (2n = 92) reinforces the phylogenetic position of these two species as sister groups, considering that other species of geese and swans have diploid numbers close to 2n = 80. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2014, 111, 274–279.