The white geese are a small group of waterfowl which are united in the genus or subgenus Chen, in the true geese and swan subfamily Anserinae. They breed on subarctic areas of North America and around the Bering Strait, migrating south in winter. Many authorities place these species in the grey goose genus Anser. Indeed, Chen and Anser are anatomically indistinguishable. However, external morphology, biogeography, and molecular data suggest that the white geese are indeed an evolutionary lineage distinct from the grey geese ? from which they split off fairly recently, essentially replacing them in North America. The AOU recognizes this genus as distinct; most other authorities today consider it a subgenus of Anser. Like grey but unlike the Branta black geese, their feet and legs are colored in reddish hues. The bill is also reddish in these birds as in most grey geese, except in adult males of Ross’s Goose which have a blue-black grainy cere. The wingtips are black, as in all true geese, whereas the head is always white without any markings or pattern in adult birds of this genus, which distinguishes them from all other true geese except feral domesticated geese. The rest of the plumage is either white all over, or colored in various dark bluish-grey hues; the latter birds, uniquely among true geese, do not have white uppertail and undertail coverts, though the tail itself may be white. White-phase snow geese of both species can be told apart from feral geese best by the more slender, elegant neck, which is thick-set in domestic geese; these also have a generally heavier body and often lack black wingtips.
Ross’ Geese are usually in flocks, often mixed with Snow Geese. Their tendency to roost in tight flocks and be easily attracted to decoys may have made them vulnerable to market hunters, who had a significant impact on the population. These geese typically forage on the ground, wading or swimming in shallow water.
Listen to the sound of Rosss Goose
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
|wingspan min.:||119||cm||wingspan max.:||137||cm|
|size min.:||53||cm||size max.:||66||cm|
|incubation min.:||21||days||incubation max.:||24||days|
|fledging min.:||0||days||fledging max.:||24||days|
Video Rosss Goose
In the Nearctic region the population of Ross’ Geese was estimated at only 2,000 to 3,000 individuals in 1931. Protection from hunting has helped the Ross’ Goose population recover to a 1988 total of 188,000 breeding birds, although it is still listed as a species-of-concern on the Partners in Flight watch list. Still on the increase, populations are now thought to be expanding their range greatly–birds have been found farther east and west in recent years during migration. Most nesting occurs within a refuge, and hunting is still prohibited, but loss of migration stopover and wintering habitat continues to threaten the Ross’ Goose.
Commonly held in wildfowl collections, and most European records (e.g. Faeroes, Britain, Belgium, Germany) regarded as escapes. In Netherlands, records include apparent vagrant returning November 1994 for 8th consecutive winter.