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Bean Goose - Tundra Bean Goose and Taiga Bean Goose

Anser fabalis and Anser serrirostris

Length: 28-34 inches Wingspan: 56-68 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Dark bill with orange band near tip, plain overall, uniform grayish belly, slightly darker upperparts

Taiga Bean Goose - Anser fabalisThe American Ornithologists Union recently split the more generic Bean Goose into Taiga and Tundra species, based on breeding habitat.  They are still considered one species in Europe.  Physical characteristics between the two species are also slightly different, with the Taiga Bean Goose having a broader orange band on the bill than the Tundra Bean Goose.   The Taiga Bean Goose is normally a bird of Europe and Asia.  They breed in northern parts of Eurasia, and typically winter near coastal areas of northwest Europe, in southeast Asia, and elsewhere in Eurasia.   Bean Geese are considered vagrants in North America.  However, they are seen with some regularity in the Aleutians and other areas of Alaska, and have also been seen elsewhere in North America, including areas as diverse as Canada, the Salton Sea in California, and in Iowa.

Habitat: Breeding habitat in summer is taiga.  Wintering habitat has included grassy pastures, grassy steppes, and similar habitats.

Diet: Diet is composed of plant material, including grasses, roots and tubers, seeds, fruits, and flowers.  They will also feed on cereal grains and other agricultural crops if available.

Nesting: On taiga habitat, typically nests in grassy hummocks near water, with the nest often located at the base of shrubbery or a tree.  The nest is a low mound of grasses, moss, and other vegetation, with a depression at the top lined with down.  They are not particularly sociable during nesting, although dispersed nests sometimes form relatively loose colonies.  Both parents help raise the young and defend chicks from predators.

Interactive eBird Map: Click to access an interactive eBird map of Tundra Bean Goose sightings.  Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Taiga Bean-Goose sightings.

Song: Loud honking

Migration: Migratory.  The Taiga Bean Goose breeds in Taiga areas of northern Eurasia, and winters in northwestern Europe and southeastern Asia, and scattered other locations in Eurasia.  The Tundra Bean Goose breeds in northern Russia and winters in scattered locations in Europe and Asia.

Similar Species: In North America, most similar to the Greater White-fronted Goose.  Also closely related to the Pink-footed Goose.

Conservation Status: There are currently no perceived major threats to Taiga Bean Goose populations, and Birdlife International cites it as a species of "Least Concern". 

Further Information: 1) Avibirds European Birdguide Online - Taiga Bean Goose

2) Avibirds European Birdguide Online - Tundra Bean Goose

3) - Taiga Bean Goose

4) Planet of Birds - Taiga Bean Goose

Photo Information: April 2006 - Photo from Shizhao - Photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0 Generic license.

Additional Photos: Additional Photos Coming Soon!!


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Taiga Bean Goose - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota.  They are regular but rare visitors to portions of western Alaska (above).  They also have appeared as vagrants in North America in areas as diverse as Iowa, California, and Canada
Additional Bean Goose Photos (coming soon!!)