The greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons) breeds in the wetlands of the Arctic tundra and winters in the fields, lakes and marshes of Central California, and sites in Texas, Louisiana, Mexico and a few other states. It is common only west of the Mississippi.
This medium-sized goose has a gray-brown body with black mottling on the upper belly and breast. Because of the mottling it is often called a speckled breast goose. White-fronted geese have a white band around the base of the bill and forehead. The bill is pink or orange and the legs are orange. The males and females look the same (monotypic). The lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus), which breeds from Scandinavia to Siberia, is basically a smaller version of the white-fronted goose, hence “greater” is attached to the name of the goose that winters in our area.
The diet of white-fronted geese consists of seeds, grain, grass, berries and sedges. They will tip up in shallow water to eat from the bottom.
White-fronted geese pairs stay together for many years and some associations between parents or siblings last throughout life. The offspring often migrate with their parents through the second season.
The greater white-fronted geese will be here for another month or so before beginning their northward migration. These pictures were taken in the Ash Creek Wildlife Area (Modoc County CA).