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Bird Gallery

Ross's Goose

Ross's Goose and Snow Goose
Ross's Goose and Snow Goose

© Greg Lavaty

Chen rossii

Family: (Anatidae) Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Preferred Habitat: Fields and marshes.

Seasonal Occurrence: Common in winter.

Notes: The Ross's Goose is a small white goose with black wingtips and a pink bill. They breed in the central Arctic Tundra and winter primarily in western North America, but are increasingly more common further east.

Ross's Goose often migrates and winters in mixed flocks with snow geese, a very similar looking species. The best field marks when in the company of Snow Geese are body and bill size as seen in the accompanying photos. If close study is allowed, the absence of the Snow Goose's "grin patch" on a much stubbier bill is helpful. The Ross's Goose is a smaller bird, with a smaller bill and rounder head.

Ross's and Snow geese are often seen flying in a "V" formation with one side of the "V" noticeably longer. After some study it was determined that the reason for this is that there are more birds on that side of the "V".

Look for the Ross's Goose in large mixed goose flocks flying over and foraging in coastal wetlands and aglands. The Katy Prairie and Anahuac NWR are reliable winter haunts.

Snow Goose (dark morph)
Snow Goose (dark morph)

© David McDonald