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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Jouko Lehmuskallio. Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Lesser White-fronted Goose

Anser erythropus

  • Family: Waterfowl – Anatidae
  • Appearance: A small grey goose with a yellow eye-ring.
  • Size: Length 56–66 cm (22–26 in), wingspan 115–135 cm (45–53 in), weight 1.5–2 kg (3.3–4.4 lb).
  • Nest: Shallow depression in marshy ground under a bush or on a tussock, lined with parts of plants and greyish brown down.
  • Breeding: 5–7 eggs laid in May, incubated for 25–28 days. Young able to fly within 35–40 days.
  • Distribution: The most endangered breeding bird in the whole of Fennoscandia. Previously abundant in Lapland and also a common passage migrant in Southern Finland, but today very rare, and probably no longer breeds in Finland. Still breeds in Norway, however, where the species’ breeding population numbers some 35–45 pairs.
  • Migration: Migrates southeast to regions around the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in Southern Russia and Kazakhstan. Migrates earlier than other geese in autumn, August–Sept, with most birds returning during May.
  • Diet: Probably similar to other grey geese.
  • Calls: Shrill disyllabic or trisyllabic honks.
  • Endangerment: Critically endangered. Globally classified as vulnerable.

Lesser White-fronted Geese generally resemble Greater White-fronted Geese, but are smaller and more slender. They are most easily recognised by their small pink beaks and always visible yellow eye-rings. Their wings are proportionately longer than those of greater white-fronts, with their wingtips reaching further back than their tails. Young birds do not have the same patches of white above their beaks, or the elongated grooves down their necks. Older birds’ legs are orangey yellow in colouring while younger birds have dirty-looking yellow legs. Adults’ beaks are pink with a whitish knob, while younger birds have dirty reddish beaks with a dark knob. Their irises are chestnut brown, and surrounded by a distinguishing expanded yellow eye-ring which can be visible over long distances.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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