BIRDS OF ICELAND : Anser brachyrhynchus, Pink-footed Goose

Anser brachyrhynchus; the Pink-footed Goose is the second major breeding goose species on Iceland. Traditionally the breeding regions of the greylag goose and the pink-footed goose was clear and distinct: the greylag breeds in the lowlands and the pink-footed breeds in highland regions. In recent years though the pink-footed has spread its breeding-grounds into the lowlands. Nevertheless, the main breeding area are the marshes under the Hofsjökull glacial (the þjórsarver) but there are other highland marshes as well like the marshes at Hvannalindir North(-east) of the Vatnajökull. For the casual birder visiting Iceland observing these breeding grounds is not easy. The highland roads are closed during the breeding period. However, after the breeding period parents and chicks disperse to different areas and they can be seen. Late april and may they can be observed in large numbers in most lowland regions as well as they arrive from the British Isles but find the highland marsh regions still in winter conditions. They resemble the greylag goose. The easiest way to tell them apart is the dark brown head and a much lighter neck and the short beak in the pink-footed goose where the grey-lag do. Other geese species are passing migrants between Canada/Greenland and Europe (British Isles). These are the white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons: much like grey-lag but has a very characteristic white base along the beak), the barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis: black on top and front with a very white face) and the brent goose (Branta bernicla: like barnacle but smaller and dark face with a small white collar in the neck).

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A brief introduction to Iceland birds
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk
- unless stated otherwise

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Show other photo's of the Pink-footed Goose:
 nice lateral view - showing the distinct dark coloured head and upper neck and the light coloured lower neck parts.
 A lateral view in different light circumstances.
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 Lateral view.
 Picture at different light condition.
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 Push on photo for full size