Lesser White-Fronts  Biology
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Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus)
Foto: Christian Moullec

The Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser eythropus) is the smallest of the grey goose species. Adult birds reach only 53 to 68 cm (Greylag Goose 75 to 90 cm). Characteristics are a white ring around the bill, which stretches over the forehead until above the eye and a yellow ring around the eyes as well as a small almost triangular pinkish bill.

The species breeds in the scrub tundra, up to heights of 700 m above sea level. The nest is build in grass between dwarf trees and little bushes or on hummocks, seldom far from water. At the beginning of July, up to five goslings hatch after a breeding period of 25 to 29 days. Both parents care for the young. Fledging period is 30-40 days. Young stay with their parents through their first autumn and winter.

Lesser White-fronted Geese live mainly herbivorous. They feed on a rich variety of grasses and herbs, which they find on river banks, lake shores and swamps. To their natural enemies in their Fennoscandian home belong the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), the Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus), the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla).

Lesser Whitefronts are migratory birds. They reach their breeding areas by the end of May. At the end of August or the beginning of September they leave the breeding area and fly to their wintering grounds. The main part of the Fennoscandian birds migrates via Hungary to southeastern Europe. Breeding birds from Western Russia fly via Western Sibiria to the Black Sea or via Kazakhstan to the Caspian Sea. In the past decades an increasing number of Lesser Whitefronts was observed on the wintering grounds in Germany and the Netherlands.


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