Bean Goose/Anser serrirostris

Bean Goose/Anser serrirostris - Photographer: Борис Белчев
Bean Goose/Anser serrirostris - Photographer: Ники Петков
Bean Goose/Anser serrirostris - Photographer: Ники Петков
Bean Goose/Anser serrirostris - Photographer: Ники Петков

L 69-88 cm, WS 140-174 cm. Breeds on bogs, marshes and pools in remote taiga (ssp. fabalis) or on wet tundra (ssp. rossicus), both wintering in W and C Europe. Migrants passing S Fenno-Scandia 2nd half Apr and Sep/Oct. Huge roosting and wintering flocks at favoured places in S Sweden and N Continental Europe; scarce in Britain. Shy and wary.
IDENTIFICATION: Medium-large to large, rather dark, long-winged. Distinct white edges to dark tertials and upperwing-coverts. Head and neck rather dark. Differs from Greylag and Pink-footed in orange (or dull red) legs, not pink; also, in flight upperwing rather dark, not strikingly pale, and underwing all dark (cf. Greylag). Sometimes difficult to separate from Pinkfooted, especially at a distance, when orange of bill and legs often looks indeterminably dull red; back just as dark as flank area (paler on Pink-footed) helpful, as is narrower white terminal tail-band of Bean. Many have narrow white rim at base of bill; those with most can resemble White-fronted Goose (see pp. 40-41). - Ecologically differentiated subspecies fabalis and rossicus differ slightly but distinctly. Ssp. fabalis about as large as Greylag but has narrower neck, smaller head, slimmer bill and body; bill is usually long, and base not too deep; amount of orange (or dull red) variable, some with dark restricted to base of lower mandible, tip and a little on culmen, others with a lot of dark at base of bill resembling rossicus and Pink-footed. Ssp. rossicus is slightly smaller, has shorter neck, darker head and neck which contrast more markedly with paler body than in fabalis, all characters which make it more similar to Pink-footed; bill is short, deep-based and triangular, and pale (reddish) patch almost invariably small, and base of lower mandible is deeper and more curved. In large flocks of N Europe some birds appear to be intermediates.
VOICE: Commonest call is a deep, nasal, trumpeting, disyllabic or trisyllabic, jolting ‘ung-unk’ or ‘yak-ak-ak’, at slightly varying pitch when heard from flocks. With practice discernibly deeper in pitch than Pink-footed (otherwise similar).

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