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< >  Branta leucopsis - Barnacle goose (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Bernaches nonnette (French)
Bernache nonnette (French)
Weisswangengans (German)
Weißwangengans (German)
Barnacla (Spanish)
Barnacla cariblanca (Spanish)
Brandgans (Dutch)
Vitkindad gås (Swedish)
Bernicla leucopsis

Names for newly-hatched

Gosling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

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

Other references:
B138

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

ORGANISATIONS
(UK Contacts)

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

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

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Aviculture Information

Notes

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 300m² (or 200m²  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:

  • Barnacle geese are common in collections, being hardy, easy to manage and generally unaggressive, although they may be aggressive in the breeding season. They may be kept in mixed exhibits with good grazing, and may be kept in a flock if there is sufficient space. A water area for swimming should be provided. They tend to remain at the site they were reared if left fully flighted. Good grazing will provide most of their food, although grain grains and a basic pellet should also be provided, plus vegetables (e.g. carrots) if grazing is limited, other green food and bread.
  • These geese are easy to breed. They appreciate natural open ground cover for breeding; they may use a nest box or kennel/wigwam. Eggs may be laid from early April to mid June, particularly in the late half of April. They sit well; parent incubation and rearing is preferred.
  • This species is liable to hybridise - it is advisable to keep separate them from other geese species until they are paired.

(B29, B31, B96, B97, B108)

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

Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 23-28 inches, 58-71cm (B3, B1).
Adult weight General 1290-2010g (B1).
Male 1370-2010g average 1672g (B3); mean 4.0 lbs. (B8).
Female 1290-1785g average 1499g (B3); mean 3.5 lbs. (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

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

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Legs

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

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Plumage

Adult MaleClick Illustration for full-page view Sides of head, forehead and throat white, with black line from eye to bill. Crown, neck, mantle and upper breast black. Lower breast, abdomen and flanks pale grey.

Upperparts dark grey with pale barring. Ventral area and tail-coverts white. Tail and rump black. Wings grey with darker flight feathers.

Variations (If present)Click Illustration for full-page view --
Juvenile Black spots on forehead, black mottling on face, wider black streak between bill and eye. Upperparts red-brown tinged.

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts and cap grey-brown, underparts, neck and head paler.
Bill: Black.
Feet: Black.

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Begins late May to June.
No. of Clutches --

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Nest placement and structure

On the ground or on cliff ledges, a shallow depression with lining of grass, moss, lichen and down.

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 4-5 (B1)
Range 2-9 (B1); 3-5 (B8)
Egg Description White. Size: 76 x 50mm, weight: 107g. (B3).

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Incubation

24-25 days (B1); 24-26 days (B8).

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Hatching

Synchronous.

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Fledging

40-45 days (B1, B8).

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Sexual Maturity

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

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Mainly grazing on pasture, marshes and arable land.
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building In colonies. Build by female.
Incubation By female.
Newly-hatched Tended by both parents.
Juveniles

Remain with parents until the start of the next breeding season.

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Gregarious. Family groups begin to merge in moulting period.
Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

Strong permanent pair bonds.

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Predation in Wild

Arctic foxes and gulls.

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Activity Patterns

Feed in flocks during the day and at night.
Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

Basically vegetarian. Breeding: grasses, sedges and aquatic plants (leaves, stems, seed-heads); winter also grain, some vegetables.

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Newly-hatched

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal --
Occasional and Accidental --
Introduced --

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Habitat

--

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Not presently threatened (B1).

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats Very localised breeding and wintering grounds (B1).

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Captive Populations

Common in European but not in American collections (B8).

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Trade

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