Medium-sized, rather compact, rather short-billed and short-necked, essentially pinkish-grey goose, with dark, round head and foreneck and pale forewing obvious in flight. Bill marks and legs pink.
Concentrated largely in the Atlantic sector of west Palearctic. The presence in breeding habitat (up to 700 m above sea) is limited to brief and uncertain ice-free period. Strict attachment to parts of apparently suitable terrain, at mean densities above 130 nests per square km. Preference in Iceland for inaccessible nest-sites in river gorges suggests safety from ground predators is a primary requirement. Apparent inconsistency of wide-spread grouping of oasis nests on low heathy mounds or ridges perhaps due to relative failure of such predators to reach these seasonally uninhabitable uplands. In Spitsbergen, where predation of Arctic Fox is minimal, nest on flat ground or grassy slopes when snow-free at laying time, as well as low cliffs and rock outcrops.
Anser brachyrhynchus breeds only in Svalbard, Iceland and east Greenland, with the
entire global breeding range hence confined to Europe. The European breeding
population is relatively small (This goose has two distinct populations. Both have undergone an important increase since the 1950’s. The first population is breeding in Iceland and Greenland, and wintering in Scotland and northern England. It amounts to 225000 individuals. The second population is breeding on Svalbard and wintering in Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. It amounts to 34000 individuals
Vegetable material, including parts of plants both above and below ground. Feeds like Greylag Goose, though much less commonly in water, and smaller Bill and gizzard tend to restrict it to softer material. In summer quarters, eats green parts, roots, and fruits of wide variety of tundra plants. In winter quarters, now feeds mainly on farmland, including grassland, but exact composition of diet differs according to local, seasonal, and annual variations in crop-plant availability.
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 280,000 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 birdlife.org]
Egg-laying in Iceland from early or mid-May, in Spitsbergen laying starts last half May and completed first half June. The nest is build in low hummocks and banks snow-free at time of building, and above post-thaw floods. Also tops of rock outcrops, ledges on river gorge cliffs, and tops of rock pinnacles in gorges. The nest consists of low mound of grasses, sedges and other vegetation, with shallow cup. Large amounts of down added during and after laying. Clutch is usually usually 3-6, incubation lasts 26-27 days and the goslings will flegde after about 56 days.
Migratory, Greenland and Icelandic populations winter mostly in Scotland and N and E England; Svalbard birds winter along E shores of N Sea. Sporadically in more southern latitudes during cold winters.
- spanwidth min.: 137 cm
- spanwidth max.: 161 cm
- size min.: 64 cm
- size max.: 76 cm
- incubation min.: 26 days
- incubation max.: 27 days
- fledging min.: 52 days
- fledging max.: 60 days
- broods 1
- eggs min.: 3
- eggs max.: 6
- Conservation Status