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Bar-Headed Goose

Order:  Anseriformes – Ducks, geese and swans, and screamers
Family: Anatide – Ducks, geese and swans

Scientific Name:  Anser indicus


Bar-headed GooseDescriptionMedium sized waterfowl.  Greyish body with white under tail.  The neck darkens to blackish brown on the front and back of neck.  Head is white with two black bars extending from the eye across to the back of head.  White feathers extend in a thin stripe down the sides of neck.  Bill, feet, and legs are orange.  Total length is approximately 28 in.


RangeHome Range:   High Central Asia, breeds in Himalayas, North China.  Flocks winter in Northern India.           


Habitat Type:  Large rivers, lakes, grain fields, grasslands.


Reproduction:  As ice begins to melt in March, great flocks appear from their wintering grounds.  They arrive in high altitude lakes of Tibet and Mongolia.  They will seek out patches of dry ground in the morasses of the surrounding lakes to nest in.  Nests are mounds of moss, grass, and other vegetation, well lined with down and feathers.   Three to four ivory white eggs are laid normally, and occasionally up to seven are laid.  Incubation lasts 28-30 days.  As soon as the eggs hatch, parents move young to open water or ground where they are less vulnerable to attack by predators.   


Diet in the Wild:   Grass, grain, and crops.  In the wild, they may be hunted heavily in some areas because of the great damage they cause to crop fields when large flocks settle to eat.


Diet in the Zoo:  Various grains, (Milo, corn, wheat, sunflower seeds) plus vegetation available in duck ponds. 


General Information:   Bar-headed geese are probably the highest flying birds.  They have been seen flying over the top of Mt. Everest at an altitude of 29,500 feet, more than 5 ½ miles above sea level.  These birds are able to withstand severe weather and are winter resistant 


Conservation Status: Signs of decline in northern parts of its range and remains common only in Tibet and Ladakh.


Ducks, Geese and Swans of the World. 63-66 pp.
Encyclopaedia of Aviculture. Vol. 1., 107 pp