PINK-FOOTED GOOSE – (Anser brachyrhynchus) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Pink-footed Goose plumage is mainly brown on top with beige stripes and borders. The head is brown. Under parts are beige. Bill is dark grey with a pinkish spot in the middle. Legs and feet are pink (as name implies). Sexes are similar. Average length some 70 cm (30 inches).
NAME: ‘Goose’ would have different origins, such as Dutch and German ‘Gans’, Old Norse ‘Gas’, even Spanish ‘Ganso’. This would relate the name to Latin ‘anser’ for ‘goose’. The Latin species name ‘brachyrhynchus’ means ‘short bill’.
HABITAT: Tundra in the summer, agricultural fields in the winter.
DIET: Herbivorous – tundra plants in the summer, farm crops in the winter.
NESTING: Nests built on cliffs close to glaciers, are a shallow scrape on the ground. Three to five light beige eggs are laid, incubated by the female. Goslings led to water soon after hatching and care for by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeding range covers mainly Iceland, Svalbard and Greenland. Migrates mostly to the UK for the winter, also Netherlands and Denmark.
Distribution map:
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island. Occurrences accidental (fall and winter) so far (see photo below). (See note below on bird vagrancy.)
CONSERVATION: Not considered at risk. Some wintering local populations (Svalbard) causing conflicts with agriculture and management programs are in place.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds. Since geese are very social birds those vagrants will hang out with other geese such as the Canada Goose.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Canada Goose, Brant
REFERENCES: (Norwegian Polar Institute)
Spitsbergen/Svalbard (Pink-footed Goose) (Wageningen University, Netherlands)

Pink-footed Goose with Canada Geese - Ellen's Creek, Ch'town, PEI - Feb. 10, 2018 - Don McLelland
Pink-footed Goose with Canada Geese – Ellen’s Creek, Charlottetown, PEI – Feb. 10, 2018 – Don McLelland