Greater White-fronted GooseAnser albifrons

adult
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
juvenile
Peter LaTourrette/VIREO
adult
Adrian & Jane Binns/VIREO
adult
Arthur Morris/VIREO
adult
Marvin R. Hyett, M.D./VIREO
Greater White-fronted Goose

Description

27-30" (69-76 cm). A dusky-brown goose with conspicuous white belly and undertail coverts; white patch on front of face; underparts barred and flecked with black. Bill usually pink; legs orange. Birds from Greenland have orange bills. Young birds lack white face and black bars on underparts.

Voice

A distinctive bark: kla-ha! or kla-hah-luk!

Listen

calls of flock #2
other calls
calls of flock #1

Habitat

Breeds on marshy tundra; winters on marshes and bays.

Range

Breeds in Alaska, far-northern Canada, and Greenland. Winters from coastal British Columbia to California, in New Mexico, and along Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana; more rarely on East Coast and in interior. Also breeds in northern Eurasia.

Discussion

This is the least common goose in the East, occurring in numbers only along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana and Texas. Its winter headquarters is California's Sacramento Valley. These geese often migrate in large flocks at night, when they can be identified by their distinctive call. Like other geese they often leave the marshes to feed in nearby stubble fields, where they are frequently concealed from view until the observer is very close, when they explode noisily into the air. The "Tule Goose" of the West Coast is considered a large race of the Greater White-fronted; its breeding grounds were unknown until 1979, when birds were found nesting near Anchorage, Alaska.

Nesting

5 or 6 cream-colored eggs in a down-lined grassy depression on the tundra.

Similar Species

adult

Canada Goose

35-45" (89-114 cm). Brownish body with black head, long black neck, conspicuous white cheek patch. The smaller Brant has a shorter neck and lacks white cheek patch.

adult

Cackling Goose

Cackling and Canada Geese, male and female, are virtually identical in appearance. The primary differences are in size and proportion.

adults

Emperor Goose

26-28" (66-71 cm). As large as Snow Goose or Greater White-fronted Goose. Body and wings silvery gray; black and white feather margins give a scaled bluish appearance.

Vireo

iPad Promo