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< >  Anser albifrons - Greater white-fronted 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)

White-fronted Goose
Whitefront
Specklebelly Goose
Oie rieuse (French)
Bläßgans (German)
Blässgans (German)
Ansar careto (Spanish)
Ganso frente blanco (Spanish)
Kolgans (Dutch)
Ansar careto grande (Spanish)
Bläsgås (Swedish)
European White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons albifrons)
Pacific White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons frontalis)
Gambel's White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons gambeli)
Tule White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons elgasi)
Tule Goose (Anser albifrons elgasi)
Greenland White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons flavirostris)

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, B44.9.w1.

Aviculture references:
B7, B29, B30, B40, B94, B95, 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)

Species-specific information:

  • Greater white-fronted geese are hardy, and, except for Anser albifrons gambelli - Gambel's white-fronted goose and Anser albifrons elgasi - Tule goose) are frequently maintained in collections. As with other geese, they require a good area of grass for grazing, and water for drinking, bathing and breeding. A large field or pen is suggested and they may be kept in mixed collection.
  • These geese may be fed mainly on grass, with other greenfoods added if grazing is insufficient. Overfeeding should be avoided, with the geese transferred from grain and pellets to only breeders pellets (plus grass/greenfood) for two months prior to breeding (B29).
  • They breed fairly readily (this varies with sub-species - Anser albifrons gambelli - Gambel's white-fronted goose or Anser albifrons elgasi - Tule goose, have been bred extremely rarely). Open cover and close ground cover should be available for nesting (e.g. open field of grass and hedge for cover), also kennel or wigwam. Eggs are usually laid April or May to June, depending on the sub-species. These geese will defend the nest site, but eggs may be vulnerable to predation by e.g. crows due to the exposed nest sites.
  • Fertile hybrids have been reported with Anser anser - Greylag goose, Anser caerulescens - Snow goose, Anser cygnoides - Swan goose, Anser erythropus - Lesser white-fronted goose and Anser fabalis - Bean goose.

(B29, B30, B94, B97, B129).

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme suggested average closed ring size: R 16.0mm, except Tule goose Anser albifrons elgasi S 18.0mm (D8).

Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 26-34 inches, 66-86cm (B3); 65-86cm (B1)
Adult weight General 1700-3000g (B1)
Male Anser albifrons albifrons 2400-3200g, Anser albifrons frontalis average 2404g, Anser albifrons elgasi average 2993g (B3)
Female Anser albifrons albifrons 1700g, Anser albifrons frontalis average 2222g, Anser albifrons elgasi average 2861g (B3)
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Pink.
Variations (If present) Anser albifrons flavirostris Greenland white-fronted goose - orange.
Eyes (Iris) Male Dark brown.
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Duller than adult, sometimes tinged yellow.
Eyes (Iris) Dark brown.

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Legs

Adult Male Orange.
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Dull yellow.

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Plumage

Adult Male Head and neck brown, with distinctive white front to head and dark furrows on neck.

Breast and abdomen buff-brown with black barring. Flanks brown with paler feather edges and white line along upper edge of flank. Ventral region and tail-coverts white, tail and rump dark grey with pale tail border.

Upperparts grey-brown with pale feather edges; flight feathers blackish, wing coverts ashy-brown.

Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Lacks the black belly bars and the white on the head.

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

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

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Begins late May/June.
No. of Clutches One.

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Nest placement and structure

On the ground, a shallow nest of vegetation, sparsely lined with down and feathers.

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 3-7 (B1)
Range 5-6 (B1); 4-7 (B8)
Egg Description White to cream/pinkish/light buff (B3, B8) . Size: 76 x 54mm. Weight: 125g. (B3).

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Incubation

22-28 days (B1); 24-28 days (B8).

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Hatching

Synchronous.

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Fledging

About 40-43 days (B1); 40-65 days (B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males Three years old.
Females Three years old.

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Mostly grazes on land.
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Nest as solitary pairs or in loose groups.
Incubation By female, with male guarding.
Newly-hatched Tended and defended by both parents. Brooded by female when small.
Juveniles

Remain with parents until the following breeding season.

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Gregarious except when nesting and with small goslings.
Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

Strong permanent pair bonds.

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Predation in Wild

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Activity Patterns

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Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

Basically vegetarian. Roots, leaves, stems, and seeds of herbs, berries, grass and sedges. In winter also grain, potatoes, sprouting cereals.

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Newly-hatched

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal
  • Anser albifrons albifrons: North Russia and Siberia, Kanin peninsula to Kolima river
  • Anser albifrons frontalis: Eastern Siberia from Kalima river east to arctic Canada
  • Anser albifrons gambeli: north-west Canada taiga
  • Anser albifrons elgasi: south-west Alaska
  • Anser albifrons flavirostris: west Greenland

Migratory: south to lower latitudes in temperate Europe, Asia and North America, to specific areas. Further south in very cold winters.

London: In the London Area, "scarce winter visitor and passage migrant in variable numbers." (J322.65.w1)

Occasional and Accidental

Accidental to Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Israel, Cyprus, Malta, Tunisia, Libya, Azores, Madeira.

Introduced

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Habitat

Breeding: open tundra, coastal and inland, near marshes, lakes, rivers and pools. Winter: steppe, farmland and marshy areas.

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

European White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons albifrons)
Pacific White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons frontalis)
Gambel's White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons gambeli)
Tule White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons elgasi)
Tule Goose (Anser albifrons elgasi)
Greenland White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons flavirostris)

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)
Tule goose Anser albifrons gambeli classified as Vulnerable (B44.9.w1).
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 (fully protected in Scotland)") 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 Tule goose Anser albifrons gambeli vulnerable due to small range (B44.9.w1).

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Captive Populations

Tule and Gambel's are uncommon; other subspecies are kept commonly (B8).

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Trade

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