Kingdoms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Anseriformes / Anatidae / Anser / Species
< >  Anser brachyrhynchus - Pink-footed goose (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
Click on photograph for full-screen view Click on photograph for full-screen view Click on photograph for full-screen view Click on photograph for full-screen view Click on photograph for full-screen view Copy of Anser_brachyrhynchus_Pair_with_goslings_PS.jpg (24485 bytes) Click Photo for full-page view









Click image to return to Waterfowl Contents FlowchartCONTENTS

Click image for list of Waterfowl Species

Click image for list of Waterfowl Agents
Click image for list of Waterfowl Diseases
Click image for list of Waterfowl Environmental Events / Factors

Return to top of page

General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Pink-footed bean Goose
Oie ā bec court (French)
Kurzschnabelgans (German)
Ánsar Piquicorto (Spanish)
Kleine Rietgans (Dutch)
Spetsbergsgås (Swedish)
Anser fabalis brachyrhynchus

Names for newly-hatched

Gosling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases


Return to top of page


Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B2, B3, B4, B8, B19, B25, B26.

Aviculture references:
B7, B29, B30, B31, B40, B94, B95, B96, B97, B108, B128.w1, B129
D1, D8

(UK Contacts)

(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

Return to top of page

TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

Return to top of page

Aviculture Information


General information:
  • Northern (True) Geese are generally hardy and easy to manage. They are usually gregarious and many species may be kept in flocks, however they tend to be territorial and aggressive in the breeding season and some may need to be maintained in separate pens. It is often possible to keep small ducks with pairs of geese, unless the individual goose pair is particularly pugnacious. They should always be provided with adequate water for swimming.
  • For a single pair of geese a total pen area of 300m˛ (or 200m˛  for smaller species, e.g. Branta ruficollis - Red-breasted goose), with at least 20% of this area water is suggested, although more water should be provided if possible in a larger pen (D1).
  • Geese are grazers and should have access to good short grass (less than 3 inches, 7.5cm long) for grazing. When grass is scarce, it may be supplemented with greenfood such as cabbage, lettuce etc.; alfalfa pellets have also been used for this purpose. Additional grain and pellets should be given, with a change to breeder pellets in the breeding season, at which time less or no grain may be fed. Breeding success may be decreased if these species are allowed to become too fat and this can be problematic particularly for the species which normally breed in the high Arctic.
  • Goslings may be parent hatched and reared, although being mainly terrestrial they are more vulnerable to predation than are cygnets. Whether parent or hand-reared, goslings should be provided with unlimited grazing and other green food such as chopped lettuce, as well as starter crumbs.
  • Geese species may hybridise with one another, but this is not usually a problem if they are well paired before being mixed with other birds.

(B7, B29, B30, B40, B94, B95, B108, B128.w1, B129, D1)

Species-specific information:

  • Pink-footed geese are hardy, easy to keep and gregarious but need space when breeding, when they may become aggressive although they are generally unaggressive towards ducks. They are fairly popular in collections, being smaller and more decorative than the other typical Grey Geese.
  • They are suitable for large areas with good grazing, which will provide most of their food. They should also be fed wheat, pellets, greenfood and bread: plenty of green food should be available.
  • These geese are fairly good breeders. They appreciate natural cover for breeding, and usually lay end of April to June. They may be allowed to hatch and rear their own goslings.
  • They readily hybridise with all other Anser spp. Hybrids reported with Anser albifrons - Greater white-fronted goose, Anser anser - Greylag goose, Anser caerulescens - Snow goose, Anser canagica - Emperor goose, Anser fabalis - Bean goose, Branta canadensis - Canada goose (Richardson's).

(B29, B31, B94, B96, B97, B129)

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme suggested average closed ring size: R 16.0mm (D8).

Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

Return to top of page


Adult Bill Male Black and pink.
Variations (If present) --
Eyes (Iris) Male Dark brown.
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Black and pink
Eyes (Iris) Dark brown.

Return to top of page


Adult Male Pink.
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Pink.

Return to top of page


Adult Male Head and neck chocolate-brown, neck deeply furrowed, with variable small amount of white around bill base. Breast, flanks and abdomen light brown with darker markings towards rear of flanks. Upperparts greyish brown with white feather edges. Ventral area and tail-coverts white. Tail grey-brown with broad white feather tips and edging.

Wings have grey coverts, blackish flight feathers

Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Duller. Feather edges less distinct, upperparts darker and browner, underparts mottled.

Return to top of page

Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts brown/olive, underparts yellowish.
Bill: Grey.
Feet: Grey.

Return to top of page


Reproductive Season

Time of year Begin May.
No. of Clutches One.

Return to top of page

Nest placement and structure

Shallow nest of vegetation, on traditional sites. Down-lined.

Return to top of page

Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average --
Range 3-5 (B1); 4-7 (B8)
Egg Description White to pale straw coloured. Size: 78 x 52mm, weight: 132g.

Return to top of page


26-27 days (B1); 25-28 days (B8).

Return to top of page



Return to top of page


About 56 days (B1); 45-50 days (B8)

Return to top of page

Sexual Maturity

Males Three years, occasionally two years old.
Females Three years, occasionally two years old.

Return to top of page


Feeding Behaviour

Adults Mostly feeds on land, but also in water.
Newly-hatched --

Return to top of page

Parental Behaviour

Nest-building In loose colonies.
Incubation By female, with male defending.
Newly-hatched Both parents rear the young.

Remain with their parents until the following breeding season.

Return to top of page

Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Gregarious.
Inter-specific Tolerant of other species on the wintering grounds, but tend to remain apart.

Return to top of page

Sexual Behaviour

Strong permanent pair bonds.

Return to top of page

Predation in Wild


Return to top of page

Activity Patterns

Circadian --

Return to top of page

Natural Diet


Basically vegetarian. Breeding season: leaves, stems, roots, berries, seedheads of sedges, mosses and lichens. Winter: grain, potatoes and other vegetables, grass.

Return to top of page


Herbs and horsetail Equisetum variegatum important initially.

Return to top of page

Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)


Greenland, Iceland , Spitsbergen (Svalbard). Probably also Franz Josef Land and Kola peninsula (extreme north-west Russia).

Migratory: from Greenland and Iceland to Scotland, north and east England; Spitsbergen population to eastern shores of North Sea.

Occasional and Accidental




Return to top of page


Breeding: open arctic tundra, on rocky outcrops, crags and gorges. Wintering: coastal estuaries, flat agricultural areas.

Return to top of page


Intraspecific variation


Return to top of page

Conservation Status

Wild Population -

Numerous within its limited range (B1).

General Legislation
  • This species is listed on Schedule 2 - Part I (Birds which may be killed or taken outside the close season, 1 February to 31 August except where indicated otherwise: Notes on the revised schedules state "NOTE: The close season for ducks and geese when below high water mark is 21 February to 31 August") of the LUK2 - Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of the United Kingdom. (W5.Oct01)
CITES listing Listing not yet included.
Red-data book listing Listing not yet included.
Threats --

Return to top of page

Captive Populations

Common in European collections but less often found in American collections (B8).

Return to top of page



Return to top of page