Chen rossii/caerulescens x Branta leucopsis

(c) Harry J. Lehto

Possible Ross'/Snow Goose x Barnacle Goose hybrid/ Mahdollinen Eskimo-/Lumi- x Valkoposkihanhi

Ruissalo, Turku, Finland, May 27, 2008 and Sept 27, 2008
Distance about 30m, and 30-100m Canon EF 500mmf4.0 (+1.4x)
Canon 1DMarkIII, 640-800 ISO

This is a difficult goose. One of the parents is clearly a Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis) and the other parent is a possibly grey goose (Anser sp.). The bird was found in a flock of Barnacle Geese (Branta leucopsis). the bird was very similar but apparently not identical to a bird seen at the same site in 2004
The arguments as in 2004 suggest that this could be a Greater White-fronted Goose x Barnacle.

This bird differed from the 2004 bird in that this bird was clearly (~15-20%) larger than the barnacles. Furthermore this individual had lots of white feathers in the plumage (tip of the tail, and wing coverts), which were dark in the 2004 bird. Note also that this time we had in vivo comparison with an obvious Lesser white-fronted Goose x Barnacle Goose which was at the site also!

Because of the large amounts of white other combinations besides Great-fronted Goose x Barnacle Goose (A alb x B leu) need serious reconsideration (barnacle x Snow goose or x Domestic (greylag) Goose or other combinations). Note the bill coloration and the faint yellow tinge in the upper tarsi. In May we considered the bird to be a Greater White-fonted x Barnacle Goose.


The bird was photographed again in September. It appeared from the photos that there was more white on the marginal coverts and lesser upper wing coverts as well as the under side of the wing. The white tip to the tail band was also more clearly white. It now appears that one of the parents is still a barnacle goose, while the other one is a very white goose, possibly a Snow Goose or a Ross' Goose. The size might favor Ross's Goose.

May 2008 Photograhs

September photographs

Last update: Jun 10, 2009

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