White-fronted Goose

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White-fronted Goose
Conservation status: Secure

Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Anseriformes
Family:Anatidae
Genus:Anser
Species:A. albifrons
Binomial name
Anser albifrons
Scopoli, 1769

The White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) is a goose closely related to the smaller Lesser White-fronted Goose (A. erythropus). In North America it is known as the Greater White-fronted Goose.

Both white-fronted species have a very conspicuous white face and broad black bars which cross the belly, though the last two characters are occasionally observable to some extent in the Greylag Goose, which, however, has the bill and legs flesh-coloured, and pale bluish-grey upper wing-coverts.

White-fronts are 65-78 cm in length and have a 130-165 cm wingspan. They have bright orange legs and mouse-coloured upper wing-coverts. They are smaller than Greylag Geese. As well as being larger than the Lesser White-fronted Goose, the Greater Whitefront lacks the yellow eye-ring of that species, and the white facial blaze does not extend upwards so far as in Lesser.

The Greater Whitefront is divided into five races. The nominate race A. a. albifrons breeds in the far north of Europe and Asia, and winters further south and west in Europe. In the far east of Siberia east to arctic Canada, it is replaced by the race A. a. frontalis, slightly larger and with a marginally longer bill, wintering in the U.S. and Japan.

Two other restricted-range races occur slightly further south in northern North America; race A. a. gambeli in interior northwest Canada, slightly larger still and wintering on the U.S. Gulf Coast, and race A. a. elgasi (Tule Goose) in southwest Alaska, largest and longest-billed of all, wintering in California. All these races are similar in plumage, differing only in size.

Finally, the very distinct Greenland White-fronted Goose race A. a. flavirostris breeding in western Greenland, is much darker overall, with only a very narrow white tip to the tail (broader on the other races), more black barring on its belly, and usually has an orange (not pink) bill. It winters in Ireland and Scotland.

Recent ecological studies suggest the Greenland form should probably be considered a separate species from A. albifrons. Of particular interest is its unusually long period of parental care and association, which may last several years and can include grandparenting, possibly uniquely among the Anseriformes.bg:Голяма белочела гъска de:Blssgans fr:Oie rieuse fy:Blesgoes lt:Baltakaktė žąsis nl:Kolgans ja:マガン pl:Gęś białoczelna fi:Tundrahanhi

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