British wildlife recordings
Anser brachyrhynchus : Pink-footed Goose - Anatidae
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Caerlaverock, Dumfries and Galloway: OS Grid Reference(303500,565500)
Pink-footed Goose, Anser brachyrhynchus
Calls of pink-footed geese in a flock, recorded at Caerlaverock, Scotland. The pink-footed goose is one of our regular winter visitors, spending between October and March in Britain before returning to its breeding grounds in Greenland and Iceland. The bond between male and female generally lasts for life. On its breeding grounds in the arctic tundra, the female nests in a solitary fashion to avoid detection by predators. On its wintering grounds, however, it is extremely sociable and is often found feeding in vast flocks. Pink-footed geese are smaller than their relatives, greylag geese, and are identified by a darker-coloured head, an undersized pink bill and pink-coloured feet. In winter, they feed in flocks of up to 40,000 birds, often moving between large fields that contain winter cereals, potatoes, carrots, or other arable crops. At dusk, they fly off en masse to their traditional roosting areas such as estuaries, mud-flats, and flood-water. This is the best time to hear the incessant and high-pitched 'wink-wink' call of the birds as they pass overhead. Numbers in England, and particularly in East Anglia around The Wash, have recently increased and over 240,000 individuals now spend the winter in Britain. Higher populations are due to the abundance of large farmland fields and better protection at their winter roost sites.