British wildlife recordings
Anser albifrons : White-fronted Goose - Anatidae
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Slimbridge, Gloucestershire: OS Grid Reference(373500,203500)
White-fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
The calls of the white-fronted geese in a large flock recorded at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire. The "White-front" of this grey goose refers to the bold face markings found on both male and female birds. Dark bands on the underparts and vivid orange legs are also characteristic features of this species. Two distinct races are known to visit the British Isles from October to March. The Greenland race, which possesses an orange beak, frequents North Western Ireland and the west coast of Scotland. The Siberian race, which displays a pink beak, is found particularly in the Severn estuary to the west of England and the Swale estuary to the east. The peat bogs and wet grasslands where these birds are found are facing continued threats due to increased drainage and poor management. White-fronted geese visit the Arctic Tundra regions in order to breed. Each pair tend to their clutch of 5 to 6 eggs in lowland shrub areas close to rivers and lakes. The diet of White-fronted geese consists of grass, clover, cereals and potatoes. The species has earned the title of "laughing goose" due to its call being a high pitched "yelping" or "yapping", a quality more canine than avian. The slightest disturbance will send large groups of these birds directly upward into the air, exploding in noise.