RSPB
Skip navigation
Join the RSPB

Help us give nature a home from £3 a month.

Conservation status: Amber

The bean goose is one of the 'grey geese'. It tends to be darker and browner than the other species in this group, and to have a darker head and neck. It breeds in north Scandinavia, north Russia and north Asia, and visits Britain in small numbers in autumn and winter. Most of the birds that winter here come from Scandinavia, where the breeding population has declined in the last 20 years. Possible reasons for this decline include increased human disturbance, changes in agriculture and direct persecution.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Anser fabalis

Family

Swans, ducks and geese (Anatidae)

Where to see them

The best place in Britain to see bean geese is the Yare Valley in Norfolk, which includes the RSPB's Mid-Yare nature reserves. Another flock winters near Falkirk in southern Scotland. Smaller numbers of the smaller, shorter-billed tundra-breeding race also spend winter here. They are erratic in their appearances, but are regularly seen in east and south-east England.

When to see them

Between late September and March.

What they eat

Grass, cereals, potatoes and other crops.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
--410 birds from the 'taiga' population and 320 from the 'tundra'-

Distribution

Key

In the UK
South-west Scotland and Norfolk
In Europe
N Scandinavia, W Siberia and western Europe
Worldwide
Northern Europe and Asia

Audio

Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto