Friday, March 17, 2006

Goose Friday

These Pictures (click the pics to enlarge) are all from a visit to a nearby lake a few weeks ago. The top two geese are Canada Geese, Branta canadensis. The key features include a white area on the cheek with a dark neck, back and tail, with a white undertail. This is North America's most common goose.

The two geese in these pictures were a little more difficult to classify. I did so with the assistance of Kevin J. McGowan's webpage on Confusing Domestic Geese (and hybrids). On the right is the Domestic Greylag Goose, Anser anser. Here and here are good descriptions of the wild form, which was domesticated over a thousand years ago in Europe for its meat and down.
I believe the bird on the left is a Domestic Swan Goose, Anser cygnoides, which is also discussed here. The Swan Goose is a native of eastern Eurasia and is also known as the Chinese Goose. The features I am using to identify this bird in comparison to the domestic swan goose seen in the above link, include the knob behind the bill, the white patch behind the bill, and the dark line down the posterior neck. One of the more noticeable differences between the domestic breeds and their wild counterparts is that the domestic versions have thicker necks and larger bulkier bodies.

Don't forget to check out Modulator's Friday Ark.

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