Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons


enlarge +

Greater White-fronted Goose
credit: Arpingstone

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

All Images


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Family: Anatidae, Ducks and Geese view all from this family

Description ADULT Has gray-brown plumage, palest in tundra birds and darkest in taiga birds. All birds show variable black barring on underparts, and white vent, which extends as white line to flanks. Legs are orange and bill is pinkish orange. White on forehead is more extensive in tundra birds than taiga ones. In flight, all birds show white on upper tail. JUVENILE Similar to adult, but lacks white on forehead and dark markings on underparts.

Dimensions Length: 27-30" (69-76 cm)

Habitat Locally common. Breeds on tundra and taiga. Winters mainly on farmland and freshwater marshes.

Observation Tips Easiest to observe in winter: California's Central Valley and Texas wetlands are hotspots.

Range Eastern Canada, Alaska, Texas, Southeast, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Plains, Western Canada, California, New England, Rocky Mountains, Florida, Northwest, Southwest

Voice Utters musical barking calls, especially in flight.

Discussion Bulky goose. Adult has diagnostic white "blaze" on forehead. Juvenile lacks this feature and could be confused with feral Graylag Goose. Several subspecies are recognized, but plumage variability often makes precise identification difficult. Broadly speaking, there are two extremes: pale tundra-breeding forms and darker taiga-breeding birds; they usually occur in separate populations in winter. So-called "Tule Goose" is a particularly dark taiga form. Sexes are similar. All White-fronts fly in V-formation on migration and in winter. Feed by grazing vegetation, particularly grasses in winter.