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Greater White-fronted Goose


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Breeding across the tundra from Nunavut to Siberia, across Russia, and in Greenland, the Greater White-fronted Goose has one of the largest ranges of any species of goose in the world. In North America, however, it is common only west of the Mississippi River, where it is found in large flocks in wetlands and croplands.


Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Medium-sized goose.
  • Body gray-brown.
  • Forehead and base of bill white.
  • Bill pinkish or orange.
  • Variable amount of black mottling on belly.

Immature Description

Slightly smaller and lighter than adult. Lacks white forehead and black belly marks. Bill light pinkish. Legs yellow-orange

Range Map Help

Greater White-fronted Goose Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Adult

    Greater White-fronted Goose

  • Adult

    Greater White-fronted Goose

    • © Gary Witt, Forest Grove, Oregon, September 2013
  • Adult

    Greater White-fronted Goose

  • Adult with Cackling Goose

    Greater White-fronted Goose

    Adult with Cackling Goose
    • © 1krispy1, Littleton, Colorado, December 2013

Similar Species

  • The least distinctively marked of American geese. Most likely to be confused with domestic goose. Various breeds of domestic geese may have a white line behind bill, overall gray body, and orange bill and feet. Domestics lack the black belly markings, and have thicker necks and bigger bellies.
  • Canada Goose has black neck and head with white cheek patch.
  • Blue form of Snow Goose has all white head and white in the wings. Juvenile is blue-gray not brownish, and has a white, not black tail.
  • The Graylag Goose is quite similar to Greater White-fronted Goose. Wild Graylag Geese are extremely rare in North America, but their domestic form is common in farms and other settled areas. Bird watchers can report these separately from wild geese in eBird, where they're listed as "Graylag Goose (domestic)". The Graylag Goose has a bigger bill, appears heavy overall, and typically has a drooping deep belly. Domestic individuals are sometimes mottled with white.

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