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Ross's Goose

Chen rossii ORDER: ANSERIFORMES FAMILY: ANATIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A tiny white goose with black wingtips, the Ross's Goose is like a miniature version of the more abundant Snow Goose. It breeds in the central Arctic and winters primarily in central California, but it is becoming more frequent farther east.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
22.4–25.2 in
57–64 cm
Wingspan
44.9 in
114 cm
Weight
30.3–72 oz
860–2040 g
Other Names
  • Oie de Ross (French)
  • Ansar de Ross, Ganso de Ross, Ganso menor (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Downy young come in two colors: yellow and gray. The two forms look identical once they get real feathers.
  • Very rarely a Ross's Goose can be found that is dark-colored like a blue morph Snow Goose. These blue morph Ross's Geese are thought to be the result of hybridization with Snow Geese.
  • Prior to the 1950s the Ross's Goose was confined to well-defined breeding and wintering areas, with few seen as strays. Since that time the species has been expanding eastward, both on the breeding and wintering grounds. The change in breeding distribution has resulted in more contact and subsequent hybridization with the Snow Goose.
  • The female Ross's Goose does all of the incubation of the eggs. The male stays nearby and guards her the whole time. The female covers the eggs with down when she leaves the nest. The down keeps the eggs warm while she is away and may help hide them from predators.

Habitat


Lake/Pond

Breeds on low arctic tundra, on islands in shallow lakes. Winters in agricultural fields and shallow wetlands.

Food


Plants

Entirely vegetarian; grasses, sedges, legumes, and domestic grains.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
2–6 eggs
Egg Description
White, usually stained during incubation.
Condition at Hatching
Covered with down and eyes open. Leaves nest within 24 hours of hatching and has the ability to swim and feed.
Nest Description

Nest a scrape in the ground lined with plant material and down feathers.

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Ground Forager

Grazes on grass.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Population relatively small, but increasing significantly.

Credits

  • Ryder, J. P., and R. T. Alisauskas. 1994. Ross' Goose (Chen rossii). In The Birds of North America, No. 162 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

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