Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)

Pink-footed Goose

[order] ANSERIFORMES | [family] Anatidae | [latin] Anser brachyrhynchus | [authority] Baillon, 1834 | [UK] Pink-footed Goose | [FR] Oie a bec court | [DE] Kurzschnabel-Gans | [ES] Ansar de Pico Corto | [NL] Kleine Rietgans


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Anser brachyrhynchus EU nw


The waterfowl genus Anser includes all grey geese and sometimes the white geese. It belongs to the true geese and swan subfamily (Anserinae). The genus has a Holarctic distribution, with at least one species breeding in any open, wet habitats in the subarctic and cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in summer. Some also breed further south, reaching into warm temperate regions. They mostly migrate south in winter, typically to regions in the temperate zone. Numerous fossil species have been allocated to this genus. As the true geese are near-impossible to assign osteologically to genus, this must be viewed with caution. It can be assumed with limited certainty that European fossils from known inland sites belong into Anser. As species related to the Canada Goose have been described from the Late Miocene onwards in North America too, sometimes from the same localities as the presumed grey geese, it casts serious doubt on the correct generic assignment of the supposed North American fossil geese. The Early Pliocene Branta howardae is one of the cases where doubts have been expressed about its generic assignment.[citation needed] Similarly, Heterochen = Anser pratensis seems to differ profoundly from other species of Anser and might be placed into a different genus; alternatively, it might have been a unique example of a grey goose adapted for perching in trees.

Physical charateristics

Medium-sized, rather compact, rather short-billed and short-necked, essentially pinkish-grey goose, with dark, round head and foreneck and pale forewing obvious in flight. Bill marks and legs pink.

Listen to the sound of Pink-footed Goose

[audio: Goose.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 137 cm wingspan max.: 161 cm
size min.: 64 cm size max.: 76 cm
incubation min.: 26 days incubation max.: 27 days
fledging min.: 52 days fledging max.: 27 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


Eurasia : Northwest


Concentrated largely in the Atlantic sector of west Palearctic. The presence in breeding habitat (up to 700 m above sea) is limited to brief and uncertain ice-free period. Strict attachment to parts of apparently suitable terrain, at mean densities above 130 nests per square km. Preference in Iceland for inaccessible nest-sites in river gorges suggests safety from ground predators is a primary requirement. Apparent inconsistency of wide-spread grouping of oasis nests on low heathy mounds or ridges perhaps due to relative failure of such predators to reach these seasonally uninhabitable uplands. In Spitsbergen, where predation of Arctic Fox is minimal, nest on flat ground or grassy slopes when snow-free at laying time, as well as low cliffs and rock outcrops.


Egg-laying in Iceland from early or mid-May, in Spitsbergen laying starts last half May and completed first half June. The nest is build in low hummocks and banks snow-free at time of building, and above post-thaw floods. Also tops of rock outcrops, ledges on river gorge cliffs, and tops of rock pinnacles in gorges. The nest consists of low mound of grasses, sedges and other vegetation, with shallow cup. Large amounts of down added during and after laying. Clutch is usually usually 3-6, incubation lasts 26-27 days and the goslings will flegde after about 56 days.

Feeding habits

Vegetable material, including parts of plants both above and below ground. Feeds like Greylag Goose, though much less commonly in water, and smaller Bill and gizzard tend to restrict it to softer material. In summer quarters, eats green parts, roots, and fruits of wide variety of tundra plants. In winter quarters, now feeds mainly on farmland, including grassland, but exact composition of diet differs according to local, seasonal, and annual variations in crop-plant availability.

Video Pink-footed Goose


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This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Anser brachyrhynchus breeds only in Svalbard, Iceland and east Greenland, with the
entire global breeding range hence confined to Europe. The European breeding
population is relatively small (<69,000 pairs), but increased substantially between 1970-1990. All three populations continued to increase during 1990-2000, and the species underwent a moderate increase overall.
This goose has two distinct populations. Both have undergone an important increase since the 1950’s. The first population is breeding in Iceland and Greenland, and wintering in Scotland and northern England. It amounts to 225000 individuals. The second population is breeding on Svalbard and wintering in Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. It amounts to 34000 individuals
Pink-footed Goose status Least Concern


Migratory, Greenland and Icelandic populations winter mostly in Scotland and N and E England; Svalbard birds winter along E shores of N Sea. Sporadically in more southern latitudes during cold winters.

Distribution map

Pink-footed Goose distribution range map


Title Spring migration strategies in Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhynchus an d consequences for spring fattening and fecundity.
Author(s): Madsen J . 2001
Abstract: Individu al variation in spring migration strategi..[more]..
Source: Ardea 89(special issue) :43-55

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Title Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus (Greenland/Iceland population) in Britain
Author(s): Mitchell, CR & RD Hearn
Abstract: This report examines changes in the abundance and ..[more]..
Source: Waterbird Review Series

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Title Crop damage and management of the Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus in Denmark
Author(s): Jepsen P.U.
Abstract: More than 25 000 Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhy..[more]..
Source: ARDEA 79 (2): 191-194.

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Title Diet and habitat use of Svalbard Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhynchus during arrival and pre-breeding periods in Adventdalen.
Author(s): Fox A.D., Francis I.S. & Bergersen E.
Abstract: The feeding behaviour of Pink-footed Geese Anser b..[more]..
Source: ARDEA 94 (3): 691-699.

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Title Pre-nesting site use of satellite transmitter tagged Svalbard Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhynchus.
Author(s): Glahder C.M., Fox A.D., Hubner C.E., Madsen J. & Tombre I.M.
Abstract: We deployed satellite transmitters (PTTs) to Pink-..[more]..
Source: ARDEA 94 (3): 679-690

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Title Intake rates, stochasticity, or onset of spring-what aspects of food availability affect spring migration patterns in Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhynchus?
Author(s): Bauer S., Madsen J. & Klaassen M
Abstract: Long-distance bird migration consists of several f..[more]..
Source: ARDEA 94 (3): 555-566.

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Title Month to month changes in age ratio and brood size in Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhynchus in autumn
Author(s): Patterson I.J. & Hearn R.D.
Abstract: The conservation and management of wild goose popu..[more]..
Source: ARDEA 94 (2): 175-183

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