Swans, Geese

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Both the swan and the goose belong to the Anatidae family, whose primary members also includes ducks. Geese tend to be smaller than the much larger swans, whose maximum length can be up to six feet. Coloring on swans tends to typically be completely white or white with some black and in rare instances, all black. Geese, tend to be more of a blackish, grey or brown color, with white markings typically found on their belly or lower tail. Another noticeable difference is the longer neck of the swan, which has a notable S-shaped curve to it. Neck of geese tends to be shorter and straight.


Bar-headed Goose

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The Bar-headed Goose is a goose which breeds in Central Asia in colonies of thousands near mountain lakes and winters in South Asia, as far south as peninsular India. It lays three to eight eggs at a time in a ground nest.

The bird is pale grey and is easily distinguished from any of the other grey geese by the black bars on its head. It is also much paler than the other geese in this genus. In flight, its call is a typical goose honking. A mid-sized goose, it measures 80 cm in total length and weighs 3.5 kg

Barnacle Goose

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Black-necked Swan

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The Black-necked Swan is the largest waterfowl native to South America. Males are 140 cm long and 7 kg in weight; females are 124 cm and 4.5 kg in weight. The wingspan is about 177 cm. The body plumage is white with a black neck, head and greyish bill. It has a red knob near the base of the bill and white stripe behind eye. The sexes are similar, with the female slightly smaller. The cygnet has a light grey plumage with black bill and feet.

It is found in freshwater marshes, lagoon and lake shores in southern South America. The Black-necked Swan breeds in Zona Sur, Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and on the Falkland Islands. In the austral winter, this species migrates northwards to Paraguay and southern Brazil.

The Black-necked Swan, like its nearest relatives the Black and Mute Swan is relatively silent. Also, unlike most wildfowl, both parents regularly carry the cygnets on their backs. The female lays four to six eggs in a nest of vegetation mound. The diet consists mainly of vegetation, insects and fish spawn.


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Cackling Goose

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Canada Goose

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The Canada Goose is a wild goose, which is native to arctic and temperate regions of North America. They have a black head and neck, white patches on the face, and a brownish-gray body

The black head and neck with white chinstrap distinguish the Canada Goose from all other goose species, with the exception of the Barnacle Goose, but the latter has a black breast, and also grey, rather than brownish, body plumage. There are seven subspecies of this bird, of varying sizes and plumage details, but all are recognizable as Canada Geese. Some of the smaller races can be hard to distinguish from the newly-separated Cackling Goose.

This species is 110 cm long with a 180 cm wingspan. The male usually weighs 6.5 kg, and can be very aggressive in defending territory. The female looks virtually identical but is slightly lighter at 5.5 kg , generally 10% smaller than its male counterpart, and has a different honk.

Chinese Goose

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The Chinese Goose is a breed of domesticated goose descended from the wild Swan Goose. Chinese geese differ from the wild birds in much larger size (up to 5-10 kg in males, 4-9 kg in females), and in having an often strongly developed basal knob on the upper side of the bill. The knob at the top of the beak is more prominent on males than females.

Chinese geese are a close cousin of the African goose, a heavier breed also descended from the Swan Goose.

Cotton Pygmy Goose

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The Cotton Pygmy Goose is a small perching duck which breeds in India, Pakistan, southeast Asia and south to northern Australia. Found on all still freshwater lakes, rain-filled ditches, inundated paddy fields, irrigation tanks, etc. Becomes very tame on village tanks wherever it is unmolested and has become inured to human proximity. Swift on the wing, and can dive creditably on occasion.

Egyptian Goose

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Embden Goose

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The Embden Goose is a breed of domestic goose. The origins of this breed are thought to be from region North Sea, in Holland and Germany.

The breed is pure white with a short, light orange bill, and orange feet and shanks. They are fast growing birds and will quickly reach about 9 kg for the Goose, and 14 kg for the Gander.

The Embden's legs are fairly short. The head is oval-shaped and they have a long and graceful neck. The eyes are an ocean blue. The body is bulky and well rounded, having a long back and a short tail. The wings are very strong and of a good length. The feathers are close and very hard. The breed’s habits are to forage for tidbits in the grass and water, a very hardy breed. The adult bird will commence laying eggs fairly early in the year, in February as a rule, laying 30 to 40 eggs.

Emperor Goose

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Greylag Goose

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The greylag is the largest and bulkiest of the grey geese of the genus Anser. It has a rotund, bulky body, a thick and long neck, and a large head and bill. It has pink legs and feet, and an orange or pink bill.

Mute Swan

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The Mute Swan is a species of swan, and thus a member of the duck, goose and swan family. It is native to much of Europe and Asia, and (as a rare winter visitor) the far north of Africa. It is also an introduced species in North America, Australasia and southern Africa. The name 'mute' derives from it being less vocal than other swan species. Measuring 170 cm in length, this large swan is wholly white in plumage with an orange bill bordered with black. It is recognizable by its pronounced knob atop the bill.

Adults of this large swan range from 170 cm long with a 240 cm wingspan. They may stand over 120 cm tall on land. Males are larger than females and have a larger knob on their bill.

The Mute Swan is one of the heaviest flying birds, with males (known as cobs) averaging about 12 kg and the slightly smaller females (known as pens) weighing about 9 kg. Its size, orange-reddish bill and white plumage make this swan almost unmistakable at close quarters. Compared to the other Northern white swans, the Mute Swan can easily be distinguished by its curved neck and orange, black-knobbed bill. Unlike most other Northern swan species (who usually inhabit only pristine wetlands without regular human interference), the Mute Swan has, in some parts of the world, become habituated and nearly fearless towards humans. Such swans are often seen at close range in urban areas with bodies of water.

Young birds, called cygnets, are not the bright white of mature adults, and their bill is dull grayish-black, not orange, for the first year. The down may range from pure white to grey to buff, with grey/buff the most common. The white cygnets have a leucistic gene. All Mute Swans are white at maturity, though the feathers (particularly on the head and neck) are often stained orange-brown by iron and tannins in the water.

Orinoco Goose

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Pink-footed Goose

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Ross's Goose

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Snow Goose

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Southern Screamer

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The Southern Screamer is found in southeastern Peru, northern Bolivia, Paraguay, southern Brazil, Uruguay and northern Argentina. Its diet consists of plants stems, seeds, leaves, and, rarely, small animals.

The Southern Screamer averages 40 in long and weighs 5 kg. They are the heaviest, although not necessarily the longest, of the three screamers. The wingspan is around 67 in. It lives in tropical and sub-tropical swamps, estuaries and watersides.

Swan Goose

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The Swan Goose is a rare large goose with a natural breeding range in inland Mongolia, northernmost China, and southeastern Russia. It is migratory and winters mainly in central and eastern China.

The Swan Goose is large and long-necked for its genus. It is 90cm long [the longest goose] and weighing 4kg OR more. The sexes are similar, although the male is larger, with a proportionally longer bill and neck. Wing Span is 45 cm; the bill is about 95 mm long. The upperparts are greyish-brown, with thin light fringes to the larger feathers and a maroon hindneck and cap reaching just below the eye. The remiges are blackish, as are the entire underwing and the white-tipped rectrices, while the upper- and undertail coverts are white. A thin white stripe surrounds the bill base. Apart from darker streaks on the belly and flanks, the underside is pale buff, being especially light on the lower head and foreneck which are sharply delimited against the maroon. In flight, the wings appear dark, with no conspicuous pattern. Uniquely among its genus, the long, heavy bill is completely black; the legs and feet, on the other hand, are orange as in most of its relatives. The eyes' irides are maroon.

Trumpeter Swan

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Tundra Bean-Goose

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White Chinese Goose

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The White Chinese Goose is a breed of domesticated goose descended from the wild Swan Goose. Chinese geese differ from the wild birds in much larger size and in having an often strongly developed basal knob on the upper side of the bill. The knob at the top of the beak is more prominent on males than females.

Chinese Geese are a close cousin of the African goose. They appear in two varieties: a brown similar to the wild Swan Goose, and white. While many domestic Chinese geese have a similar body type to other breeds, the breed standards as defined in the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection and other sources call for a slimmer, taller fowl.

Chinese Geese are among the better laying breeds of geese. A female Chinese goose can lay 50–60 eggs over the course of the breeding season.

Whooper Swan

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The Whooper Swan is a large Northern Hemisphere swan. It is similar in appearance to the Bewick's Swan. However, it is larger, at a length of 165 cm. It has a more angular head shape and a more variable bill pattern that always shows more yellow than black.