Greater White-fronted Goose
A Greater White-fronted Goose is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Greater White-fronted Geese. We have also put together a list of fun Greater White-fronted Goose t-shirts, Greater White-fronted Goose bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird watching items.
About Greater White-fronted Geese
Commonly found the west of the Mississippi River in North America, the Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) is named after the white patch of feathers that border the base of its bill.
Description and Identification
These geese are approximately 25 – 32 inches in length with a wingspan of 51 – 65 inches,
making them smaller than Greylag Geese and larger than Lesser White-fronted Geese. They
have a stocky build that is covered in grayish-black plumages with a white belly and their
breasts are light gray and are dappled with dark brown to black bars. They have a white
facial blaze that does not extend as far upwards as the Lesser White-fronted Geese,
marking them different from the lesser species along with their absence of the yellow eye-
ring. Although males are typically larger in size, both sexes are similar in color – bearing
the same pinkish bills with orange legs and feet. Juveniles lack the belly banding and white
feathering around their bills.
Greater White-fronted Goose Color Pattern
Adult Greater White-fronted Geese are mainly identified by their brown white plumage around the base of their orange-pinkish bill. Their belly is marked with black barring contrasting against their whitetail. Hen in flight, you can see a white “U” shaped banding at the base of its tail. When at rest, a thin white line stretching across its sides is visible.
Greater White-fronted Goose Size
The Greater White-fronted Goose is a heavy-bodies bird with a relatively small bill, short stout neck, and very thick legs.
The relative size for both sexes is:
- Length: 25.2-31.9 in (64-81 cm)
- Weight: 68.8-116.8 oz (1951-3311 g)
- Wingspan: 53.1 in (135 cm)
Greater White-fronted Goose Behavior
- When it comes to their hunting habits, the Greater White-fronted Geese forage in large groups on lakes near agricultural fields.
- During migration, these birds fly either in a single line or “V” shaped formation.
Greater White-fronted Goose Food
Greater White-fronted Geese mainly consume plant material along with a few aquatic insects
and snails. During summer, they eat stems, roots of grasses, sedges, horsetail, berries,
buds, and other plants. They peck at vegetation and stems both on the ground and in water by
plucking tubers, seeds, or grains on land and by submerging their heads to reach
underwater plants. Their winter diet mainly consists of seeds, grains, and grasses of various
vegetation around agricultural fields like barley, oat, corn, rice, and wheat fields, or the plant
matter found on ponds and lakes.
Greater White-fronted geese mostly eat plant material; during winter they mostly eat waste grains from fields. They can also be seen grazing on areas with new growth. Over the season of summer, they eat horsetail, sedges, berries, buds, and grassroots amongst other plants.
On occasion, they eat small aquatic insects and snails accidentally swallowed along with plants.
Greater White-fronted Goose Habitat
In North America, these gray geese are found mainly on the west of the Mississippi River
throughout the year. Their breeding grounds are centered in the Arctic Tundra, including both
the wet coastal areas and the drier inland tundra. The large and dark form of this species is
known as “Tule Geese”, with the birds of these subspecies breeding in wet open sloughs
and bogs in spruce forest regions. They leave for open countries in mild climates during the
winters, with their other wintering grounds including marshes, prairies, fields, lakes, and bays
that are close to extensive shallow waters for roosting.
Range and Migration
Greater White-fronted Geese are stocky brown birds that are found across the Northern
Hemisphere. Their breeding grounds range from the Alaska North Slope across the western
and central Canadian Arctic, where after the season ends, they gather in huge flocks before
migrating to their wintering grounds near the Gulf of Mexico. These long-distant migrants
travel by day or night and follow established routes that rely on traditional stopover points.
Greater White-fronted Goose Life Cycle
The female lays 3 to 6 dull white eggs that she then incubates for an incubation period of 22 to 27 days. The young birds begin walking and swimming shortly after they hatch. They take their first flight at the tender age of 38 to 45 days. For the first year of their life, they stay with their parents and then become more and more loosely associated with them as they become older.
Greater White-fronted Goose Nesting
The nesting sites are selected by the females in areas with dense patches of grass, sedge,
and dwarf shrubs. They generally choose spots in wetter areas near lakeshores and
wetlands areas but can also be found nesting in drier upland tundra. The construction of the
nests is undertaken entirely by the females, with the female making a depression in the
ground by scraping it with her feet and beak. The depression is then filled with woven
strands of surrounding grasses and sedges to form the outer cup. Once the outer cup is
ready, it is lined with softer items like plant material and down feathers to provide sufficient
insulation to the nest of 1 – 8 eggs.
Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes
At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Greater White-fronted Geese
The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Greater White-fronted Geese are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.
Greater White-fronted Goose T-shirts
If you love the Greater White-fronted Goose you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Greater White-fronted Goose Iron On Patches
Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Greater White-fronted Goose is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.
Greater White-fronted Goose Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Greater White-fronted Goose. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.
Bird Feeders for Greater White-fronted Geese
There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.
Best Bird Houses for Greater White-fronted Geese
There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.