News archive

February 2020

Saturday, 29 February 2020

February Bird of the Month - White-fronted Goose

February Bird of the Month - White-fronted Goose

The European subspecies albifrons has a pink bill whilst the Greenland subspecies flavirostris is slightly larger and darker and has an orange bill, although this latter feature is not always obvious at long range. The legs are orange in both subspecies and the black bars on the belly are distinctive, although not seen on juveniles.

The European white-fronts favour Southern England, whereas the Greenland white-fronts prefer to winter in Ireland and Scotland. They start to reach our shores in October and their return migration takes place by March. The oldest ringed individual reached the age of 17 years.

The call, made in flight, is a barking but musical sound as the flocks cross the sky in lines, "V"s and chevrons, especially at dawn and dusk.

They breed on the Arctic tundra and winter on low-lying, wet grassland close to coastal marshes, saltings, pastures and flood meadows. Being vegetarian they feed on agricultural land including grass and cereal crops such as grain, potatoes, sugarbeet and couch grass rhizomes.

Click on the link for further info on the main RSPB website.

For your chance to catch up with this lovely goose check out Capel Fleet on the Harty Ferry Road or the Swale NNR near Shellness.