Bar-Headed Goose

Bar-Headed Goose         Anser indicus

Type of Animal:

Mountainous areas, highland wetlands, marshes, swamps, rivers, lakes, meadows, farmland, alpine grasslands, plateaus

Breeding populations in C. Asia, China, Mongolia, Russia, & Himalayas. Winters in Pakistan, India, Nepal, & S.E. Asia. Introduced in UK, Canada, parts of U.S. & parts of Europe. Vagrants seen in Palau & Guam.

Grayish-white w/ horseshoe-shaped, brownish-black bars on back of white head. Bill/legs pink, orange, or yellow.

Grasses, grains, plants, seeds, crustaceans, insect larvae, insects, snails, small fish

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, aviculture, & wildlife centers

Usually found in flocks of up to 100 birds. However, thousands flock during migrations & colonies contain thousands of monogamous pairs.

Additional Info:


Male-6 lbs
Female-5 lbs
Young-0.5 lbs

30 days

Male-2.45 ft
Female-2.35 ft

Body Length:
2.45 ft

Life Span:
15-25 years

Tail Length:
0.5 ft

Main predators are felids, canids, bears, corvids, & raptors.

Known for spectacular migration from wintering to breeding grounds, flying higher than 21,460 ft & possibly, above Mt. Everest. However,  latter hasn’t been confirmed. Believed to be one of world’s highest flying birds. Can migrate more than 1,000 miles in single day. These birds fly where helicopters can’t & even kerosene can’t burn up there.

Each female lays 3-8 eggs in a clutch.

Sexually mature at 3 years old.

Farmers sometimes kill them as crop pests. However, the population believed to be increasing in some areas & decreasing in others.

They’re extremely hardy, able to handle frigid weather as well as very hot weather.

They have amazing eyesight.

Fun Fact(s):
They can carry a bird flu that can pass to humans.
To fly over high altitudes, they can slow their metabolism.

Due to high-flying habits, sometimes called “Astronauts of the Bird World.”
Usually well mannered but they can become aggressive/defensive during breeding/nesting season.

These geese have a special type of hemoglobin allowing them to absorb oxygen quicker than other birds.

Very likely model for Hamsa (aquatic bird of passage) of Indian mythology. Other interpretations think Hamsa refers to swans & Kadamb of ancient Sanskrit literature refers to geese.

They can fly over 50 mph w/o wind assistance.

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