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Greenland White-fronted Goose

Anser albifrons flavirostris

Gé Bhánéadanach

Status: Scarce winter visitor to wetlands in Wexford and western Ireland from October to April.

Conservation Concern: Amber-listed in Ireland as the majority of the population winter at less than ten sites. The European population of White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) has been evaluated as Secure.

Identification: Medium-sized grey goose, with orange legs, a long orange-yellow bill with a prominent blaze around the base of the bill (adults).

Similar Species: Greylag and other goose species.

Call: High-pitched, musical in quality (not nasal). Usually disyllabic.

Status: Winter migrant, occurring in Ireland between October & April.

Diet: Grazes on a range of plant material taking roots, tubers, shoots and leaves. Grasses, clover, spilt grain, winter wheat and potatoes are popular foods. Forages over peat bogs, dune grassland, and occasionally salt marsh, with the use of agricultural grassland increasing in recent years.

Breeding: Breeds on lowland tundra, often by lakes and rivers. Nests are widely scattered, though loose colonies may be formed.

Wintering: Winters in Ireland and Scotland. Highly gregarious. Traditionally occurred in peatland areas, though now mostly seen feeding on intensively managed grasslands.

Where to See: Very localised distribution, occurring mostly (up to 9,000 birds) at the Wexford Slobs, with smaller numbers (usually low hundreds) elsewhere. Wexford (North & South Slobs, Tacumshin Lake & Cahore Marshes), Loughs Swilly & Foyle in County Donegal, Lough Gara in County Roscommon, Midland lakes (Loughs Derravarragh, Iron, Owel & Ennell) in County Westmeath, Little Brosna in County Offaly and River Suck/Shannonbridge in County Roscommon are the most important sites.

Monitored by: National Parks and Wildlife Service/ Greenland White-fronted Goose Study Group.

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