Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Robert T. Maytum
Photo Courtesy of Robert T. Maytum

The greater white-fronted goose, Anser albifrons, breeds in the arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere, and migrates southward to the southern United States, Mexico, Africa, and India for winter. It is not common in Utah, being only a rare migrant through the state. The greater white-fronted goose nests in arctic tundra on the edges of water bodies. During other times of the year, it can be found in grain fields, grasslands, marshes, ponds, and lakes.

Four to six eggs are laid and then incubated by the female alone for about four weeks. The male stands guard during incubation, and will help in tending the young. Family groups stay together during migration and at wintering areas for several years. The greater white-fronted goose eats primarily plant matter, including aquatic plants, grains, fruits, and marsh plants, although aquatic insects are also consumed.

Individuals are usually grayish-brown in color with orange or yellowish feet, and a pink bill. The species is called the white-fronted goose because individuals have a white marking on the front of the face.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.