Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Lesser White-fronted Goose

Anser erythropus

The Lesser White-Fronted Goose is the smallest species in the Anser genus. Their gray-brown bodies are around 53-66 cm long (21”-26”) with black patches on their bellies. They have a 120-135 cm (47”-53”) wingspan. They have a white blaze on the face that extends from the beak to the crown of the head. They have a pink beak and red legs. In fact, their scientific name “erythropus” means “red foot.”

Range & Habitat

The Lesser White-fronted goose is a small migratory goose.  It breeds in forest tundra, bogs and lakes from northern Scandinavia eastwards across Siberia.  The eastern group winters mainly in eastern China and the western group goes southwest into Europe.


Conservation Status: Vulnerable

According to the IUCN Red List, the number of mature individuals is estimated to be between 16,000 and 27,000. This is a decline from an estimated 100,000 fifty years ago.


In the Wild:  Aquatic and terrestrial plants.  In the winter they supplement their diet with farm grains.

At the Zoo: Waterfowl grain mix, grass and greens.

Life Span

12 to 15 years

Fun Facts about the Lesser White-fronted Goose

  •  They breed freely in captivity, but may hybridize with their larger relatives, the Greater White-fronted goose.  During a reintroduction program in Sweden, it was determined that some of the released geese were hybrids. The two species migrate together, which causes problems because the Greater White-fronted Goose is commonly hunted.  Hunters have a hard time telling the species apart.
  •  The Lesser White-fronted goose reaches maturity at around two or three years of age and makes strong, permanent pair bonds. Their young mature faster than any other goose species, and are therefore ready to migrate with their mothers.



Updated June 13, 2023
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