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Aves > Anseriformes > Anatidae > Anser

Anser fabalis (Latham, 1787) – Bean Goose

Taxonomic Notes:

Bean Goose has many recent taxonomic updates. All previous classification has undergone taxonomic revision. Earlier Bean Goose was classified as Anser fabalis middendorfii (then called Forest Bean Goose) and Anser fabalis rossicus (then Called Tundra Bean Goose). Anser fabalis rossicus was also named as Anser serrirostris rossicus by some early taxonomists. In addition to this Anser fabalis neglectus (then called Sushkin's Goose) was coined for some individuals that had some distinctive and different bare part and plumage variation. 

Currently, Bean Goose taxonomically exists as follows:

Taiga Bean Goose with three subspecies: Anser fabalis fabalis, Anser fabalis johanseni, and Anser fabalis middendorfii
Tundra Bean Goose with two subspecies: Anser serrirostris serrirostris and Anser serrirostris rossicus

Out of these, Taiga Bean Goose (A. f. fabalis or A. f. johanseni) is reported from India (needs further confirmation on which subspecies occurs in India). There are no records of other subspecies and Tundra Bean Goose from India yet. 

Breeding Season: May to June. Extralimital (Tundra shores of Arctic Russia and Siberia west of Taimyr Peninsula). 

Nest: Nests made of twigs and grasses on ground. 

Eggs: 3-5 eggs in a clutch
Indian and global distribution:
records (based on images):

Size: length: 76-81 cm. wingspan: 147-180 cm. 

Distinguishing Characters:

Adults: It is a large brown coloured goose with elongated body, neck and beak. Legs are orange-yellow and dark beak with pale yellow band/spot.
Young/Immatures: Similar to adults, more scaly upper parts with darker beak (with no yellow band), less bright legs.

Similar Species in India:

(1) Greater white-fronted Goose (differs from Bean Goose by having pink beak, broad white band in the front of the head i.e. at all the sides of base of beak, black barrings on belly and yellow legs).

(2) Lesser White-fronted Goose (differs from Bean Goose by having white band at the forehead, distinct yellow-eye ring, pink beak, yellow legs and smaller size).

(3) Greylag Goose (differs from Bean Goose by having overall ashy-grey brown plumage, pink beak and legs.

Sexual, seasonal & individual variation:

Sexes are alike. No distinguishable seasonal or individual variation that occur in this species.

Status, Habitat and Habits:

This species is a vagrant visitor to India. It has occured rarely in India (mainly northern India) and only as one or two individuals along with gregarious flocks of Greylag or Bar-headed geese.

Foraging Behaviour: Extensively herbivorous diet that consists of grasses, roots, stems, and cereals

Loud high-pitched honking.

Migration Status: Migratory, rare winter visitor to India. 

IUCN Status: Least Concern

1. Rasmussen, P. C., and J. C. Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Washington, DC.

2. Ali, S., and S. D. Ripley. 1978. Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan: Together with those of Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Ceylon (Vol. 1). Oxford University Press.

3. Stuart Baker, E. C. 1933. The Nidification of Birds of the Indian Empire. Taylor And Francis.

Aves > Anseriformes > Anatidae > Anser

Cite this page along with its URL as:
Bayani, A. 2023. Anser fabalis (Latham, 1787) – Bean Goose. Satose, V., A. Bayani, V. Ramachandran, P. Roy, and K. Kunte (Chief Editors). Birds of India, v. 2.17. Indian Foundation for Butterflies.
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