Greater White-Fronted Goose

Greater White-Fronted Goose


Profile Greater White-Fronted Goose     Literature page

[order] Anseriformes | [family] Anatidae | [latin] Anser albifrons | [UK] Greater White-Fronted Goose | [FR] Oie rieuse | [DE] Bläßgans | [ES] Ansar Careto Grande | [IT] Oca lombardella maggiore | [NL] Kolgans

Kolgans determination

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The Greater White-fronted Goose is mottled brownish-gray overall with a black tail, white rump, white band at the tip of the tail, and bright orange legs. The belly has a varied pattern of large black splotches. Its name is derived from the white facial feathers around the base of the pinkish-yellow bill. The juvenile looks similar but lacks the white facial feathering and black markings on the belly.
The Greater White-fronted Goose grazes while walking on land, and dabbles when in the water. Social most of the year, this goose is territorial during the breeding season

Greater White-fronted Geese nest on marshy ponds in the tundra or taiga. They winter in open country in mild climates in habitat with shallow fresh or salt water near agricultural fields.

Anser albifrons breeds in Greenland and arctic Russia, with Europe accounting for
less than a quarter of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is
relatively small (This goose is breeding in the tundra of northern Eurasia and North America. Its nominate race can be hunted, and is included in Annex II. The race flavirostris is included in Annex I, however. Its breeding grounds are along the West Coast of Greenland, and it is wintering in the British Isles. After a strong decline during the 1960’s and 1970’s, its population has strongly increased and amounts again 30000 individuals

In the winter, seeds and waste grain are the staple of the diet. Stems and roots become more important sources of food during the breeding season. These geese also eat some invertebrates.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 2,900,000-3,300,000 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]

The Greater White-fronted Goose doesn’t usually breed until 3 years of age. The female builds a shallow depression lined with plant material and down in a sheltered spot near the water. She lays and incubates 3 to 6 eggs for 22 to 27 days. The young walk and swim almost immediately after hatching, and both parents tend them, although they feed themselves. First flight is typically between 38 and 45 days, but the young remain with the parents for at least the first year, and often maintain an association with the family for several years.

Migratory, spends winter months in fixed areas at lower latitude, mostly in temperate Europe, Asia and North America. Occasionally further S during cold winters.


  1. Measurements
  2. spanwidth min.: 130 cm
  3. spanwidth max.: 160 cm
  4. size min.: 64 cm
  5. size max.: 78 cm
  6. Breeding
  7. incubation min.: 27 days
  8. incubation max.: 28 days
  9. fledging min.: 40 days
  10. fledging max.: 43 days
  11. broods 1
  12. eggs min.: 4
  13. eggs max.: 6
  14. Conservation Status
  15. Kolgans status Least Concern


  1. Anser albifrons frontalis
  2. ne Siberia, n and w Alaska (USA)
  3. Anser albifrons albifrons
  4. n Russia
  5. Anser albifrons flavirostris
  6. w Greenland
  7. Anser albifrons gambeli
  8. nw Canada
  9. Anser albifrons elgasi
  10. c Alaska (USA)
  11. Anser albifrons
  12. NA, MA, EU widespread
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