Anser albifrons   (Scopoli,  1769) (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyright: pbase

Size: 66-86 cm. Wingspan: 60 inches. Sexes similar. Medium-sized long-necked goose.

Color: Adult- Mostly brown plumage. White patch at base of pink or orange bill. Irregular black spots on belly. White line separating belly from wings. White under and uppertail coverts, dark tail. Orange legs and feet. Immature- Mostly brown plumage darker on the upperparts. Yellowish bill, legs, and feet. The White-fronted Goose is the only goose with irregular black spots on the belly and a white patch at the base of the bill. Immatures lack these marks and could be confused with immature blue phase Snow Geese but they have yellowish rather than dark bills, legs, and feet.

This species is fully migratory travelling in stages via several stop-over sites between separate breeding and wintering grounds.

Habitat: Breeding- The species breeds in open, low-lying, shrubby tundra on the coast and inland in close proximity to marshes, lakes, pools, rivers and willow- and shrub-lined ponds and streams. It requires dry slopes, banks, mounds, hummocks or patches of sand or clay for nesting sites, especially those commanding good views of the surrounding area. Non-breeding- The species winters in open country on steppe and agricultural land (e.g. improved grassland, stubble fields and wet meadows), or in brackish and freshwater marshy habitats (such as upland bogs, peatlands and floodlands). It may also roost on tidal marshes, in sheltered bays or in estuaries and frequents inland lakes and reservoirs in North America .

Breeding season- late-May or early-June in single pairs or loose groups.
Nest-The nest is a shallow construction of plant matter on the ground amongst vegetation such as grass or dwarf scrub heath, often on raised hummocks or slopes to reduce the risk of flooding and provide a vantage point of the surrounding area.

Synonym (s)
Branta albifrons (Scopoli, 1789)

Common Name (s)
• Greater White-fronted Goose (English)
• White-fronted Goose (English)
• Shwetbhal hans (Gujarati)
• Whitefronted Goose (English)
• Shvetabhal gaj-hamsa (Gujarati)
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(The species is threatened by intense hunting pressure resulting in mortality and disturbance at staging and moulting sites. It is also susceptible to poisoning by pesticides used on agricultural land. Wetland habitat degradation due to drainage, peat-extraction and changing management practices (decreased grazing and mowing in meadows leading to scrub over-growth) is also a problem. Human disturbance and oil spill and chronic oil pollution also poses a threat to the species's breeding and moulting sites.)
Threats:  Natural threats
(The species is susceptible to avian influenza so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the virus. Climatic changes are likely to cause range contractions in this species's already highly restricted breeding range and are already causing other species (e.g. Canada Geese Branta canadensis) to move northward, increasing competition for resources.)

Habitat:  Estuarine
Trophic Level:  Consumer
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


Literature Source(s)
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Avibase- the world database Available at -
  • Birding in India and South Asia Available at -
  • Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent Buceros, Envis newsletter: Avian Ecology & Inland Wetlands 62pp Available at -
  • Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent ENVIS Newsletter: Avian Ecology and Inland Wetland 55pp Available at -
  • Manakadan R and Pittie A (2001) Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent BUCEROS Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetland 6(1) 26pp Available at -
  • Kumar A, sati JP and Tak CK (2003) Checklist of Indian Waterbids Buceros Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetlands 8(1) 30pp Available at -
  • (1940) Kirtland Bird Club Available at -
  • Ali S and Ripley SD (1968) Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan Oxford university press 1 1-368pp Available at - NIO
  • PBase Available at -

Page last updated on:2013-03-07

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