Ross’s Goose (Chen rossii)


The Ross’s goose or as it is scientifically named, Chen rossii, is 16 inches long with a total wingspan of 51 inches. It is a small goose, weighing between 860 to 2040 g, which sometimes hybridizes with the Snow Goose and has many different colored morphs. The white Ross’s Goose is very similar to the white morph Snow Goose, the differences are that the Ross’s Goose is smaller, its bill is stubby, it does not have a black patch on its mandibles and its head looks rounder with a short neck.

The white morph-adult has completely white plumage with black primaries and has pink legs, feet and bill. The white morph-immature has a majority white plumage with grey upper parts. It also has black primaries, dark feet and legs and dark bill. The immature white morph Snow Goose has a darker back than the Ross’s Goose. The blue morph-adult has a dark lower neck and body and a white head and upper neck. It has a pink bill, legs and feet with dark primaries and secondaries.

The Ross’s Goose will breed on tundra near the Southampton Islands in Hudson Bay and the northeastern Mackenzie. During the winter period the Ross’s Goose will stay mainly in California, east coast and the lower Mississippi Valley in salty or freshwater marshes. In the summer the Goose will stay in the central Canadian Arctic. The call of the Ross’s Goose is a high-pitched “keek keek keek”. It is a completely vegetarian bird eating different grasses, legumes and domestic grains. It scrapes out the ground and makes a nest in the hole, lining it with plant material and down feathers.

The female Ross’s Goose will lay 2-6, white eggs that become stained during incubation. The female Ross’s Goose does all the incubation of the eggs while the male stands on guard the whole time. When the female eventually has to leave the nest she will cover it in down to keep the eggs warm and to hide them from any predators lurking around. When the chicks hatch they come out covered in either a yellow or grey down and their eyes wide open. It takes the juveniles only 24 hours after hatching to have the ability to feed and swim.