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Taiga Bean-Goose

Anser fabalis
The swans, geese and ducks are mid-sized to large birds most commonly found on or near water. Most have plump bodies, long necks and short wings. Most feed while on the water, diving or merely tilting their bodies so that their heads and necks are submerged to search for fish, plants and invertebrates. Washington representatives of the order all belong to one family:
The waterfowl family is represented in Washington by two distinct groups—the geese and swans, and the ducks. Whistling-ducks are also considered a distinct subfamily, and, although they have not been sighted in Washington in many years, Fulvous Whistling-Ducks have been recorded historically in Washington and remain on the official state checklist. All members of the waterfowl family have large clutches of precocial young. They hatch covered in down and can swim and eat on their own almost immediately after hatching.
Accidental visitor. Washington Bird Records Committee review list species.

    General Description

    This large goose is rather similar to the Greater White-fronted Goose but has a larger, dark bill with an orange band, no white frontal patch, and a uniformly lighter-gray belly. The Taiga Bean-Goose breeds right across Eurasia from Norway to Siberia, and winters south to southern Europe and China, favoring open grassland and farmland. It is a rare but regular visitor to the Aleutians and the Bering Sea region of Alaska during its northward migration in spring but has been seen only extremely rarely elsewhere in North America. The Pacific Northwest has two records, both from Grays Harbor County, Washington: a bird that made a brief appearance at Bowerman Basin on 26 April 1993, and another that stayed for nearly two weeks in December 2002 in Hoquiam, where it was seen closely by many observers, and photographed. This second bird was identified as belonging to the subspecies A.f. middendorffii that breeds in eastern Asia.

    Another similar, closely related goose, the Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhyncus), has been recorded in Washington. In November 2003 two Pink-footed Geese visited the same location in Hoquiam that hosted the Bean Goose the year before. The Pink-footed Goose breeds along the east coast of Greenland, on Iceland, and on Svalbard, winters in Great Britain and other countries around the North Sea, and is a rare vagrant to Atlantic Canada and the northeastern United States. However, its appearance in the West was unprecedented, causing the Washington Bird Records Committee to reject the record as possibly representing escaped birds from a waterfowl collection. Pink-footed Goose is somewhat lighter brown than Taiga Bean-Goose and slightly smaller, with pink rather than orange legs and a smaller bill with a pink band.

    Revised June 2007


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