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White Fronted Goose

Latin Name: Anser albifrons

Named because of its distinctive white band at the base of it's bill. This is a grey goose which has two species one of which resides and breeds in Greenland and the other in Siberia. Both species visit Britain. Around 27,000 individuals spend the winter months in the UK. It is sometimes referred to as the Greenland White Fronted Goose.


Greenland Species - Adults have a large with patch at the front of their head around the beak and bold black bars on their belly. They legs and bills are orange. The Siberia Species are different in that their bills are pink.

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Animal Facts

In Britain: October-March

Life Span: Typically 6 years.

Statistics: Length 72cm, Weight 2.5kg, Wingspan 148cm.

Habitat: Tundra lakes, wet meadows on migration flooded fields and estuaries.

Food: Grass, clover, grain, winter wheat and potatoes.

Breeding: It does not breed in the UK. It lays between 5-6 eggs which are incubated for around 28 days. They fledge at 40-43 days. The breed for the first time at age 3.

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Distribution: In the UK you can see them in the Severn Estuary in Gloucestershire, the Swale Estuary - Kent, Machynlleth in Powys, as well as Ireland, Islay Scotland where around 15,000 winter and West Scotland. You may also find them in smaller numbers in other places throughout the UK where there are lakes, reservoirs and large bodies of water as well as in some Wetland reserves where captive birds are held.

Behaviour: The are solitary breeders and nest on tidal flats and upland areas amongst tall grasses. It is primarily a grazer and feeds on grasses.

Conservation Status: Worldwide least concern, however in the UK on Amber Status - - for an explanation click here. , their habitat needs to be protected in the UK being lost to drainage.


See Also

Winter Migrants

Ynys Hir Nature Reserve, Machynlleth, Powys

Slimbridge WWT



By: Tracey Park Section: Wildlife Key:
Page Ref: white_fronted_goose Topic: Birds  Last Updated: 03/2010

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