Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Ross's Goose

Anser rossii

A smaller version of the familiar Snow Goose, Ross’s Goose is also white with black wingtips but has a shorter neck and stubbier bill. They are sometimes seen migrating through our area. They are the smallest goose known to be in North America.

Range & Habitat

These geese are found in lakes & ponds, generally in the central flyway of North America, migrating from winter residence in north-central Mexico or the southern US to their Arctic breeding grounds in the summer.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Populations historically declined due to strong hunting pressures in the 19th and early 20th century. In the few past decades, the species' population trend is increasing.

Diet

Feeds primarily upon grasses & sedges found in marshes. They also feed heavily on roots, seeds, and other grain waste found around farms. 

Fun Facts about the Ross's Goose

  • The female Ross's Goose does all of the incubation of the eggs. The male stays nearby and guards her the whole time.
  • Both Ross’s Geese and Snow Geese have expanded their populations as climate change has warmed their arctic breeding grounds, reducing snow cover and increasing plant growth.  The two species seem to be hybridizing more frequently as well. 
  • Their large, growing colonies strip vast areas of vegetation in the places where they nest, in some areas nearly down to bare ground. Some of these denuded areas of tundra are visible from space. 

Sources

BirdLife International. 2016. Anser rossii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: Anser rossii (Ross's Goose) (iucnredlist.org) Downloaded on 18 August 2021.

Ross's Goose. Anser rossii. Dakota Birder Blog.Ross's Goose - Anser rossii (sdakotabirds.com). retrieved August 18, 2021. 

 

Updated August 19, 2021
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