The white-fronted goose (the old name is goose) is a representative of the wild world. In private households he is not bred. About its distinctive features, life expectancy, distribution, lifestyle and domestication - more.
It is known that the white-fronted goose appeared in 1895 on the territory of the USSR. Birds arrived from the Caspian Sea, such a population shift, according to scientists, could occur due to a sharp increase in sea level. The inhabitants of Pavlograd were the first to see them, later the birds were spotted in the Ural basin.
It is noted that since 2008, the population of geese has sharply decreased, this is due to a decrease in the area of winter wheat and intensive hunting for white-fronted geese.
This goose served as a “material” for breeding a new domestic breed “Pskov bald”. These birds are the result of crossbreeding of local geese with tamed, wild white-faced representatives.
This waterfowl of the duck family is very similar to a gray goose, but has a more modest size. The upper part of the body is covered with brownish-gray feathers, the lower part is light, the undertail is white. In an adult bird, whose age has crossed a 4-year milestone, transverse black spots appear on the belly and upper chest. The older the geese, the bigger they are.
A special feature is a white spot on the head in the forehead. However, it appears 2-3 years after birth. Therefore, to distinguish a bird at a younger age from the gray goose is problematic. The spot is clearly visible against the background of dark-pockmarked plumage and is surrounded by a dark border. Its size is about 26 mm in diameter.
- Beak. In length reaches 40-55 mm. In adult geese, it is colored non-uniformly - in flesh (beige) color with pink marks, at the end of which there is a white “claw”. In young representatives, the marks are gray.
- Paws The color of the paws also depends on the age of the goose. In young animals, they are yellow-orange, in the older generation - orange-red. You can distinguish a bird by its protruding tail from under the folded wings.
- Body length. Varies from 60 to 90 cm, while the geese are smaller than males. The wingspan reaches up to 1.5 m. The weight of the bird by autumn reaches 2.5-3 kg.
Most geese lead a land lifestyle, which does not prevent them from being excellent divers and swimmers. On lakes and rivers, they usually fly to a watering place.
Distribution and habitat
The goose feels great in the tundra and forest-tundra, as well as on the Arctic islands. They can be found in the northern regions - Taimyr, Novaya Zemlya, Yamal, the western coast of Greenland, Eurasia and North America.
European "white-faced" migrate for the winter to the southern regions - to the Black Sea, Caspian and Mediterranean. Part of the geese flies to Asia (southeast and south). The North American population is shifting to the south of the mainland for the winter.
When choosing a wintering place, the presence of a reservoir does not play a major role for geese. On the fly, they prefer to stop near lakes and rivers, where they look for food and relax.
Wildlife and conservation status
In the natural environment, the life of a goose is 17-20 years, in captivity - it increases to 30 years. Since the number of geese of this species does not cause concern among specialists, they are not protected and hunting is allowed on them.
Food and vocalization
White-breasted geese prefer plant foods - algae, herbaceous plants, berries, horsetails. Quite often they can be seen in fields sown with cereal crops. Often this causes “conflict situations” between the bird and the person.
Experienced hunters can easily distinguish the white-fronted goose from other migratory representatives not only in flight, but also in voice. He also gags, but more loudly and louder.
This species of waterfowl flies to nesting one of the most recent - in May-early June, when snow cover begins to descend at the nesting sites. If spring is late, the flock does not fall apart. Birds keep together on the shallows and banks of ponds, waiting for favorable conditions for laying eggs and hatching.
They nest in separate colonies. Each pair's nest is far apart. Permanent couples are formed before puberty, at the age of two years.
Young growth, which turned one year old, and birds that do not plan to breed their offspring roam the tundra for a long time. Their migration is delayed, but in summer they fly en masse to lakes and grassy plains.
The female arranges nests among stones and bumps on a small hill or near bushes. Often they make them in the neighborhood with birds of prey - peregrine falcons, kayuk and are under their protection. Inside the nest, it is lined with its own fluff, dry and fresh blades of grass, making soft bedding for masonry. This helps to avoid damage to the eggs.
In the clutch you can count from 3 to 6 white eggs. The shell darkens during the incubation period. The incubation period lasts 28 days. The caterpillar hatch from the egg within 48 hours.
Only the female hatches offspring, the male is constantly on guard. He guards a goose with a nest and surrounding area. If the goose needs to go away from the nest, it covers the masonry with a roller made of fluff.
Future parents go to feed together, so for some time the masonry remains unprotected. In the natural environment, geese do not have many enemies in the tundra. The main offender is the Arctic fox, who loves to feast on eggs and chicks.
When chicks appear, parents distribute care and care for them equally. They protect and protect babies for two months. Goslings are constantly in sight of their parents, despite the fact that very soon they begin to get their own food, and by the end of August fly.
Before embarking on a long journey in the fall, parents train their offspring so that they can withstand the difficult long flight.
Adult geese begin to molt when young growth begins to fledge. Chicks molt in the first year of life 2 times - when the fluff changes to a feather and before the autumn departure for wintering.
As soon as adult birds changed their feather outfit in the summer, they again gather in a flock. They spend most of their time looking for food. Before leaving, they need to gain strength. Geese feed intensively 2 times a day in the morning and in the evening, flying from one place to another.
Domestication and productivity
The advantage of growing wild geese on the farm is their unpretentiousness. In the summer, they can be constantly on free pasture and do not need additional feed. The white-fronted goose also has a high immunity to various diseases. He is not afraid of frost, unpretentious in leaving.
For 3 summer months, geese can gain up to 4 kg of live weight. Their meat is tasty and tender. However, females do not differ in high egg production, therefore, they are not suitable as laying hens.
The white-fronted goose is a beautiful bird that lives exclusively in the wild and becomes a welcome trophy for hunters. A migratory flock of geese can cause trouble for the farmer, grazing in wheat fields. In general, white-fronted geese have a calm disposition and get along well near farms. But purposefully they are not breeding.
Watch the video about the favorable conditions created by the breeder of the White-fronted Geese:
This species of geese is not grown on special farms, however, those who decide to take this job should be aware that domesticated wild geese can breed in captivity when they create favorable conditions, but they retain their natural instincts. In order to prevent birds from flying away in the autumn, wings are cut to them.