GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE(Anser albifrons) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Greater White-fronted Goose is a large goose with a brown scaly pattern. The breast can be lighter, or have some dark brown blotches, and also on the abdomen. The rump is white, and the bill and legs are orange. The white ‘front’ is a white band surrounding the base of the upper mandible of the bill. Sexes are similar, with the male usually larger. The birds measure around 80 cm (30 in.) long. There are several subspecies, each with their specific geographic areas.
NAME: The English adjective ‘Greater’ in the name implies that there is a ‘Lesser’ White-fronted Goose. The English name ‘Goose’ would have different origins, such as Dutch and German ‘Gans’, Old Norse ‘Gas’, even Spanish ‘Ganso’. Then this would relate the name to Latin ‘anser’ for ‘goose’. The Latin name ‘Anser’ stands for ‘goose’, and ‘albifrons’ is Latin for ‘white forehead’.
HABITAT: Tundra wetland in the summer; fields, marshes and lakes in the winter, where they forage in flocks.
DIET: Plant material such as seeds, grass or small fruit.
NESTING: These geese form pairs that last for many years, and when migrating the young accompany their parents. They build a nest from a scrape on the ground. Between two and seven light beige eggs are laid, which are incubated by the female. Both parents care for the goslings, but these can feed themselves.
DISTRIBUTION:  This goose breeds in the high Arctic around the globe. The wintering grounds of the greater white-fronted goose vary according to the breeding areas – the southern USA and the Gulf coast for the groups breeding in the Canadian Arctic, for example, and specific areas in Germany, central Europe, Iraq and coastal China and Japan, for the groups breeding in the Russian Arctic. Some vagrants have been able to reach Hawaii. (See note below for information on bird vagrancy.)
ON PEI: The greater white-fronted goose does not breed on Prince Edward Island. Sightings of this species on the island have been reported as ‘accidental’ or ‘uncommon’ during its migration.
CONSERVATION: The population of the greater white-fronted goose has fluctuated over the last few decades, but the species is not listed as being of special concern. In its breeding areas, it is vulnerable to oil spills and other forms of sea pollution.  In North America hunting is managed in a sustainable way.
NOTES: These geese fly in a V formation and call while flying.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Lesser White-fronted Goose, Snow Goose, Greylag Goose
Delta Farmland And Wildlife Trust (Greater White-Fronted Goose)

Greater white-fronted goose, Union Bay Natural Area, Seattle, WA - Jan. 4, 2007, by Walter Siegmund
Greater white-fronted goose, WA
by Walter Siegmund, Jan. 4, 2007
Greater white-fronted geese, CA  by David Brossard, Feb. 4, 2012
Greater white-fronted geese, CA
by David Brossard, Feb. 4, 2012
Greater White-fronted Geese near Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Calif. – Oct. 24, 2005 – Gregory ‘Slobirdr’ Smith
Greater white-fronted geese, CA
by Gregory ‘Slobirdr’ Smith
Greater white-fronted goose, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK  - July 27, 2009, NPS photo Ken Conger
Greater white-fronted goose, AK
July 27, 2009, NPS photo Ken Conger