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Ross' Goose

Anser (Chen) rossii

Geese Family

Waterfowl Identification

Ross' Goose

Similar Waterfowl:
Snow Goose
Description:
Ross' geese are the smallest of the three varieties of white geese that breed in North America. The Ross' goose is a small white goose with black primary feathers. The bill is a deep reddish-pink with a paler nail and a variably bluish warty area over the base of the basal area. The legs and feet are rose-pink and the iris is dark brown. The sexes are dimorphic with the female being an average of 6% smaller than the male. It has a relatively short neck and lacks the black "grinning patch" that is typical of the snow goose, for which it is often mistaken. Ross' geese may be distinguished from snow geese by their smaller size, more rapid wing beat and higher pitched call.
Typical Size:
The male and female average 24 inches in length and reach a weight of 2 3/4 pounds. Their wingspan can reach 50 inches.
Habitat:
Ross's goose concentrate on shallow fresh or brackish estuaries adjacent to agricultural areas.
Breeding:
Ross' geese breed in the low arctic tundra, mainly near Queen Maud Gulf, southern Southampton Island, the western coast of Hudson Bay, and the Sagavanirktok River delta, Alaska. They usually nest in colonies mixed with lesser snow geese, making their nests on the ground in sparsely vegetated areas. Female Ross' geese lay an average of 3 to 4 eggs.
Diet:
Ross' geese feed on grasses, sedges and small grains, particularly waste wheat and barley in the winter months.
Migration:
Ross' geese are among the first to leave the breeding grounds in Canada. The California Central Valley is currently the main wintering area for Ross' geese, but increasing numbers are wintering in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, and the north-central highlands of Mexico.
Flyway Patterns:
Ross' goose can be found throughout all flyways.
Flight Formation:
High flying flocks in "V's" or irregular lines. Wing beats are deep and powerful. Flight speeds can reach 70 MPH.
Voice:
Both males and females have a shrill HONK or a subdued CLUCK.