Bar-headed Goose, Anser indicus


Short description of Anser indicus, Bar-headed Goose

Bar-headed goose is a typical Anser ‘grey goose’ in size and shape, with a pale greyish body, dark-tipped yellow bill, pale orange legs and a mainly white head. There is a dark bar from eye to eye across the upper nape and a second bar across the lower nape.  No other geese show a similar head pattern, making the bar-headed goose distinctive even at long range.

Description of Anser indicus, Bar-headed Goose status in GB

Bar-headed geese are present in the wild in GB in small numbers and are most often seen as individuals in mixed flocks with other introduced geese, such as greylags.  A few pairs nest in the wild in most years, but no breeding population is established in GB as yet.

Habitat summary: Anser indicus, Bar-headed Goose

Bar-headed geese occupy lowland waters and nearby meadows or arable farmland in invaded range.  The species breeds in high-altitude zones of central Asia and winters by lowland lakes and rivers. Many migrate high over the Himalayas to reach their wintering zones, which are mainly in India and Pakistan. Bar-headed geese have unique physiological adaptations that enable them to migrate at altitudes of up to 10,175 m asl.  

Overview table

Environment: Terrestrial and Freshwater
Species status: Non-Native
Native range: Mongolia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Jammu-Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, West China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, India
Functional type: Herbivore
Status in England: Non-Native
Status in Scotland: Non-Native
Status in Wales: Non-Native
Location of first record: Lancashire
Date of first record: 1980

Distribution map

GB Distribution from NBN Atlas

Author's name:

John Marchant

Last updated:

September 26th 2016

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