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Bean goose

The bean goose (Anser fabalis) is an occasional winter visitor to the British Isles, most likely to be seen between October and April grazing on marshy grassland in East Anglia or southwest Scotland. Its regular home territory is in northern Scandinavia and Russia.

The bean goose is a large upstanding bird measuring 28-35 inches (70-90 cms) in length. It has mottled dark brown plumage, a long neck and head, and yellow to orange feet and legs. The long bill is yellow and black, with sometimes a few white feathers at the base. The sexes are alike in appearance.

The bean goose typically nests in birch or conifer forests, as opposed to on open ground. The nest comprises a heap of vegetation that has been hollowed out.

The usual clutch is four to six eggs, which the female only incubates after all of them have been laid, to ensure that they all hatch at the same time. The eggs are covered with down when the female needs to leave the nest to feed.

The goslings hatch after about four weeks, when the male bird, who has stood guard over the nest during incubation, leads them away to find food. They will be able to fly after six or seven weeks, but will stay with their parents until the following spring.

(The photo is not by me – so approving comments would be misplaced!)

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