Friday, December 3, 2010

Canada x Great White-fronted Goose Hybrid

It's been suggested that the hybrid is too large to be a cross with a Greater White-fronted Goose and is probably a cross with a domestic Graylag. Also, larger Canada Goose subspecies do not breed in the Arctic, the White-fronted's breeding area. Both are good arguments against a Greater White-fronted x Canada Goose cross.

Original Post:
Today I spent an hour during the late afternoon at TRNWR since it was such a nice sunny day. When I got there I stopped by the visitor center to check the water level and see if there was anything interesting in the rising ponds. There were several Canada Geese swimming in the pond at the time and since it is fair distance to the pond I just took a few shots and moved on to the trail.

Tonight while I was going through the the pictures I realized there was apparently a pretty obvious Canada x Greater White-fronted Goose hybrid among the Geese. The group in the image above is lead by a Greater White-fronted Goose. Following, surrounded by three Canada Geese, is the hybrid.
It has the body coloration of a Canada, but its neck is browner and more variable. The white cheek of its Canada influence is almost nearly disguised. To me the most telling characteristics is the pinkish, orange beak and the white feathers at the base of the beak. Both influenced by the Greater White-fronted genealogy.

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