Mobile bird identification
Bird Field Guide
Order: Anseriformes

Family: Anatidae

Genus:  Anser

Species: A. albifrons
Adult Male and Female
General distribution:
Visits the UK in specific areas such as the South and East coast and the Severn estuary. Birds that breed in Greenland (Greenland race) winter exclusively in the West of Scotland. Eurasian birds summer in Northern Europe and Russia.
The Greenland race is globally threatened and almost the entire population (13,000) winter in Scotland and Ireland, numbers have decreased in recent years.

Low lying wet pasture, salt marshes, lakes and reservoirs in Winter. Feeds on agricultural grass and cereal. Breeds on Arctic Tundra.
One of the more agile geese the White-fronted is locally common and location is perhaps one of the more reliable methods of identification if seen in one off of those areas. The Lesser White-fronted Goose is very difficult to separate and identification is problematic. See the goose comparison section at bottom of page.
Juvenile (1st Winter)
Identifying a Juvenile White-fronted Goose
A flock of adult White-fronted Geese
Bewick Swan
Whooper Swan
Mute swan
White-fronted Goose
Bean Goose
Pink-footed Goose
Greylag Goose
Canada goose
Barnacle Goose
Brent Goose
Swans and Geese

The adult White-fronted Goose is a Grey-Brown bird with a White and Black tail, it's back has slight pale barring. The breast has thick Black bars and the forehead is White. The bill is Pink and the legs are bright Orange. (See also Greenland race down page)

The White-fronted Goose has distinctive White facial markings and a small compact profile. It is very difficult to separate from the much rarer Lesser White-fronted Goose, see comparison below.
HTML Comment Box is loading comments...
Comment on this bird (or page)...

Where's the best place to see this bird?
More ID tips?
Best place to photograph it?
Thanks to:
Thanks to:

White-fronted Goose

Anser albifrons
(inc Greenland race)
Identifying a White-fronted Goose

Grey-Brown body

Black bars on belly (variable)

*Pink bill

*Bright Orange legs
*Pale bars on back
* key ID points
Identifying a flock of White-fronted Goose
Thanks to:
The Juvenile White-fronted Goose, lacks the White face and black barring on the belly of the adult. Note the Orange legs and Pink bill.
White-fronted Goose in flight
Thanks to:
In flight the dark belly bars and White face can be distinctive, if the light is good.
Identifying a Greenland race White-fronted Goose
Greenland White-fronted Goose
The Greenland White-fronted Goose has an Orange bill although it can still be Pink near the tip. It is overall a darker bird and is slightly larger than the Eurasian race. The Greenland tends to have more extensive black barring on the belly, but as this is variable in both races it cannot be relied on to aid identification. The back of the Greenland tends to have less white barring and as such can look much darker. See comparison below.
'White Front' goose comparison... Key ID points

*White forehead

*Pink bill

*Bright Orange legs
White-fronted Goose (Eurasian)

*Black bars on belly (variable)

*Larger that Lesser WF

White-fronted Goose (Greenland)
Identifying a White-fronted Goose
Identifying a Greenland White-fronted Goose

*White forehead

*Bright Orange legs

*Orange bill, Pink at tip

*Larger that Lesser WF and slightly larger than Eurasian.

*Bill slightly longer than Eurasian WF

*Overall, generally darker than Eurasian WF

*Black bars on belly (variable)

*Bright Orange legs

*Pink bill, brighter than WF

*Black bars on belly (variable)

*Yellow eye ring

*Smaller than WF

Lesser White-fronted Goose

*Smaller bill than WF, more triangular

Identifying a Lesser White-fronted Goose

*More extensive White forehead than WF

*White forehead