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Greater White-fronted Goose

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These large geese are locally known as “speckle bellies” because of their breast feathers, which are mostly cream coloured, with some patches of dark brown. These geese are between a Mallard and a Canada Goose in size, weighing in at about five pounds (2.2 kg). They have bright orange legs and a yellowish or pinkish bill.

They breed very far north, and like other arctic breeding birds migrate south to North America as well as Europe and Asia. The source of the word “Greater” in their name is that there is a similar, but smaller, species in Europe called the Lesser White-fronted Goose.

Greater White-fronted Geese only stop in Delta on their way further south to their wintering grounds on the coast in America. In 2010 a small flock of these geese was regularly seen on a Winter Cover Crop in west Delta, where they fed on the cereal grass leaves.

Breeding pairs often migrate together and often make the journey with their young. Parents, offspring, and siblings may continue to stick together for years.

Photo by Rick Leche  

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