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Greater White-fronted Goose


Greater white-fronted geese are circumpolar in their breeding distribution. The majority of white-fronted geese in North America breed near the Arctic Circle from Alaska to central Canada. They are solitary breeders and nest on both tidal flats and upland areas, most frequently among tall grass and sedges bordering sloughs and marshes. Female white-fronted geese lay an average of 5 eggs.


Latin: Anser albifrons

Average length: M 29", F 27"

Average weight: M 5.5 lbs., F 4.4 lbs.


The Greater white-fronted goose is named for the distinctive white band found at the base of bill. The sexes are similar in appearance, but males typically are larger. The head, neck and upper back of white-fronted geese are grayish-brown. The lower back and rump are dark brown, and the tail is dark brown and edged with white. The chest and breast are grayish with dark brown to black blotches and bars on the breast, giving it the nickname "specklebelly." The belly and upper and lower coverts are white. The bill is pinkish and the legs and feet are orange. Greater white-fronted geese are a long-lived species, with one individual holding the current longevity record for North American waterfowl at 34 years and 7 months.

Greater White-fronted Goose

Food Habits

The Greater white-fronted goose is primarily a grazer and feeds on marsh grasses, grain crops, tundra plants, aquatic plants and fresh plant growth in fields. They also eat berries, aquatic insects and their larvae.


Currently two populations of Greater white-fronted geese are recognized: the Pacific Population and the Mid-Continent Population. Numbers of Pacific Population Greater white-fronted geese have increased steadily over the last decade.

Migration and Wintering

Greater white-fronted geese migrate along the Pacific or Central Flyways and winter in California's Central Valley, coastal and mid-continent Mexico and coastal Texas and Louisiana. Winter habitats include coastal marshes, wet meadows and freshwater marshes.