Bar-headed Goose

Bar-headed Goose


Profile Bar-Headed Goose     Literature page Bar-Headed

[order] Anseriformes | [family] Anatidae | [latin] Anser indicus | [UK] Bar-Headed Goose | [FR] Oie à tête barrée | [DE] Streifengans | [ES] Ánsar Calvo | [IT] Oca indiana | [NL] Indische Gans

Indische Gans determination

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The Bar-headed goose is the most striking of the grey geese. The name of this very gracefully built bird derives from the two prominent horse shoe shaped, brownish-black bars enhancing the white head.

The general colour is pale grey. A slightly greater wing area for its weight, compared with other geese, enables the Bar-headed to migrate at exceptionally high altitudes over the Himalayas.
Bar-headed geese have adapted to migrating over the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world. It has the ability to survive and fly at altitudes up to 30,000 feet. Most birds fly at altitudes between two and three thousand feet. Other mammals and birds would require extra oxygen just to survive at these altitudes. It is able to do this by regulating brain blood-flow at high altitudes. It needs the ability to fly at these heights so it can breed at lakes located at high elevations in Central Asia during the summer. It then flies back over the Himalayas to winter in India. It is known to fly over Mt. Everest because this is the shortest route to breeding grounds.

The favoured summer habitats are the lakes at high altitudes where the short surrounding grass is appreciated. Most winter grazing areas are currently under cultivation and the Bar-headed has become reliant on wheat, barley and rice crops resulting in considerable damage to the shoots of these crops.

Het eerste broedgeval van de Indische gans in Nederland werd gerapporteerd in 1977. Het zou nog tot 1986 duren voordat een tweede broedgeval volgde. Vanaf dat jaar volgen de broedgevallen elkaar in rap temp op en nemen de aantallen sterk toe, doordat ook de jongen mee gaan doen aan de reproductie van de populatie. Inmiddels zijn de aantallen toegenomen tot ongeveer 70 tot honderd broedparen die zich in het wild kunnen handhaven. De toename verloopt snel, met ongeveer 10% per jaar.

Vegetarian. Grasses and agricultural crops are foraged mainly by grazing.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 100,000-1,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 52,000-60,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from]

These geese nest around lakes in the open, usually a shallow depression in very dense colonies at altitudes up to 16,000 feet. Four to eight eggs are laid in a shallow depression and incubated for 28 to 30 days. The highly gregarious geese remain in the breeding grounds from late March to mid April and will leave the nesting area in late August through September.
Both parents care for the goslings which are grayish-brown and yellow. The young fledge at about 50 days of age. Parents will often double-clutch if the first eggs are removed. Some may breed at two years of age, but as with many members of the Anser genus, three years of age is most common. Immature geese are somewhat paler and lack the bars on the head

Majority of birds migratory, flying southwards to winter in northern India and adjacent countries.


  1. Measurements
  2. spanwidth min.: 142 cm
  3. spanwidth max.: 168 cm
  4. size min.: 72 cm
  5. size max.: 78 cm
  6. Breeding
  7. incubation min.: 28 days
  8. incubation max.: 30 days
  9. fledging min.: 48 days
  10. fledging max.: 53 days
  11. broods 1
  12. eggs min.: 3
  13. eggs max.: 6
  14. Conservation Status


  1. Chen indicus
  2. Anser indicus
  3. EU c
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