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Greater White-fronted Goose
Anser albifrons

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)
Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)


The Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons), in its five different geographical variations or subspecies, is found in most of the northern hemisphere. During summer it breeds to the north of the continents. In fall this goose migrates south to the east of Eurasia, including Japan, and to the Pacific and Gulf coasts of North America. It is considered rare on the coast of southern California, USA. Some members of this species reach the Greater Antilles. It is considered a regular visitor to Cuba.


During winter this goose roosts at night in lakes and during the day it feeds on cultivated fields. At this time of the year it is also seen in the marshes.


This species is very gregarious, congregating in great numbers of its own species. During migration, the flocks of this goose associate with those of the Graylag Goose in the fields.


Nesting is solitary and in spread out groups or clusters, usually near water. The nest is made out of grass and the female adds down to it. The clutch is from two to ten eggs, usually between three and six. Incubation is done by the female and lasts from 22 to 28 days. The goslings can fly from 40 to 49 days after hatching. Some of the young stay with the parents until next year's breeding. Normally these geese start breeding at three years of age, some start at two.


The diet includes seeds and roots. In winter it is seen feeding on cultivated fields.


Both sexes have similar plumage; females are slightly smaller on the average, but not enough to identify them on the field. Adult Greater White-fronted Geese reach from 66 to 86 cm (26 to 34 inches) in length. The weight could be 3.2 Kg. (about 7 pounds), but this figure varies according to subspecies and migration.

The color of the plumage is basically light brown. The feathers on the lower part of the body are white. The beak is pink to orange. The legs and feet are orange.


The species can be distinguished at sight by its size and a white patch on the face (over the base of the beak).


Molts once a year.


Eggs and goslings: Included among the predators of the eggs and goslings is the Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus).


The Greater White-fronted Goose in Spanish is called “Ánsar Careto Grande” and “Ganso Frente Blanca”.

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)
Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)

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Last revision: March 1, 2007
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