Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Bar-headed Goose

Anser Indicus

This large, hardy goose gets its name from the double bars of dark feathers that wrap around the back of its white head like horseshoes. Its body is light grey and its legs and bill are bright orange. Males and females look the same.

Range & Habitat

This species' range stretches from Mongolia south through Russia and Western China and west to Krygyzstan. In the colder months (October through March), bar-headed geese live in low-lying swamps in northern India and Burma. When the weather warms up they migrate in huge flocks to their summer breeding grounds in the high mountain lakes and wetlands of central Asia. They have also been introduced into Canada and Spain. 



Conservation Status: Least Concern


In The Wild: Highland grasses and grain, agricultural crops and occasionally crustaceans and invertebrates.

In Human Care: Waterfowl grain mix, grass and greens.

Life Span

In the Wild: 10-20 years
In Human Care: 20 years

Fun Facts about the Bar-headed Goose

  •  These geese are famous for flying extremely high. During their spring migration, they have been seen flying over the peak of Mount Everest at heights of  almost 30,000 feet!
  • They also fly far, and have been known to cover 1,000 miles in a single day.
  •  Their powerful flight generates enough heat to keep their wings free of ice even at severe sub-zero temperatures. Scientists have also found that their blood cells contain a special type of protein that absorbs oxygen very quickly at high altitudes.


SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Animals, Bar-headed Goose:

St. Louis Zoo, About the Animals, Bar-headed goose:

Animal Diversity Web, Bar-headed Goose:

Updated June 13, 2023
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