Sighting: Bar-Headed Geese

It was on the return leg from our road trip to Scotland that we stayed overnight in a quaint and charming little town, Grange-over-Sands which resulted in quite the unexpected encounter.

It was in this village we discovered a small ornamental pond home to a private collection of captive wildfowl from around the world including teal, shelducks, eiders, pochards and my personal favourite, bar-headed geese.

Whilst we didn’t have much time to spare as home was beckoning, the opportunity to meet these geese was too tempting to miss! After all, it’s not like I’ll be heading to the Himalayas any time soon…

The bar-headed goose is a small yet striking goose, mottled grey in plumage with an orange beak and legs, and a distinctive white head with two black bars or stripes which give this species their name.

Bar headed goose plumage

These remarkable geese are some of the highest flying birds in the world, specially adapted to survive at extreme altitudes as they traverse the Himalayas during their annual migration from the central Asian plateau. One goose has been recorded flying at over 23,000 feet, only the griffon vulture and common crane can beat this incredible feat!

A remarkable bird!

Fortunately the geese at Grange over Sands have no need to tackle such arduous journeys and live a much more carefree existence under the protection and admiration of a dedicated group of local volunteers.

Bar-headed geese resting on the pond edges
Get my good side?
Honking bar-headed goose

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Photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography © 2023

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jeremy Moore says:

    I believe feral bar-tailed geese are sometimes found on the Dyfi estuary with the other feral geese there. They’re nice looking birds!


    1. Claire Stott says:

      I didn’t know this! Yes they certainly are fine looking geese 🙂


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