Ross's goose | American birds

   ›      ›   Ross's goose - Anser rossii

The Ross's goose (Anser rossii) belongs to the family of duck, goose and swan, the Anatidae.

The Ross's goose is distributed over Canada, USA and Mexico in North America. This goose species is fully migratory. This goose is monotypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Ross's Goose Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The Ross's goose (Anser rossii) is a medium-sized goose, measuring 55 to 65 cm in length and weighing 1200 to 1900 grams. The male is slightly larger. The wingspan is 360 to 400 cm.

The Ross's goose has overall white plumage, except for the black wing tips. It appears similar to snow goose, but much smaller. Dark morphs of these species are very rare.

The bill is relatively short and pinkish, with paler tip. The base of the upper beak is grayish. The irises are blackish. The legs and feet are pink. The call is a loud, repeated "quoke.. quoke" sound.
Bird World - Image of Ross's goose - Anser rossii
1.Bird World - Ross's goose - Anser rossii
Image by Andrew Cannizzaro

Bird World - Image of Ross's goose - Anser rossii
2.Bird World - Ross's goose - Anser rossii
Image by DickDaniels (

Bird World - Image of Ross's goose - Anser rossii
3.Bird World - Ross's goose - Anser rossii
Image by Mike Baird

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The Ross's goose is distributed in Arctic region, Northwest Passage and western Hudson Bay in Canada, north Alaska (USA), southern USA (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana) and north Mexico.

Passage birds are found in Canada and USA along the migration route. Vagrant birds have been recorded in Netherlands, United Kingdom and Russia.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of these goose species in Canada are Queen Maud Gulf, Barber Lake and McConnell River. The IBA of these birds in Mexico is Complejo de Humedales del Noroeste de Chihuahua.

Ecosystem and habitat

The Ross's goose species does not normally occur in forest. It normally occurs in altitudes between 0 to 2500 meters.

The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these species include agricultural fields, pasturelands and water storage tanks.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these species include tundra grasslands, large lakes of Arctic region, inland cliffs, inland wetlands and freshwater lakes.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of the species consists mainly of Plant matter. Grass, sedges, leaves, stems, shoots, roots, aquatic vegetation, wild seeds and grains are their primary food.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of the Ross's goose species is during May and June in most of its breeding range. These birds are monogamous and territorial.

The breeding habitat includes large, rocky, scrubby, grassy, predator-free Arctic islands. The nest is a scrape on the high ground. The eggs are dirty white with pale blotches.

Migration and movement patterns

The goose species is fully migratory. The breeding populations occur in Arctic region, Northwest Passage and western Hudson Bay in Canada and north Alaska (USA). They migrate to the wintering grounds in July and August.

The wintering populations of the goose species are distributed in southern USA (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana) and north Mexico. The return migration occurs in early summer.

Ross's goose - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Anser rossii
  • Species author: Cassin, 1861
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Anser Rossii Cassin, 1861
  • Family: Anatidae › Anseriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia,
  • Vernacular names: English: Ross's goose, Chinese: 细嘴雁, French: Oie de Ross. German: Zwergschneegans, Spanish: Ánsar de Ross, Russian: Гусь Росса, Japanese: ヒメハクガン
  • Other names: Ross's Goose
  • Distribution: North America (Canada, USA, Mexico)
  • Diet and feeding habits: roots, shoots, leaves, stems, grains, aquatic vegetation
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the Ross's goose (Anser rossii) has not been estimated. The overall population trend of the species is considered to be increasing.

In most of its range, this species is reported to be uncommon to rare. The generation length is 8.6 years. Its distribution size is about 3,960,000

Ecosystem degradation, ecosystem conversion, severe weather, climate change, sport hunting and capture of adults and juveniles for pet-trade are the main threats that may endanger the survival of the species.

IUCN and CITES status

The Ross's goose (Anser rossii) species does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the goose species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the Ross's goose (Anser rossii).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Anser rossii
Species:A. rossii
Binomial name:Anser rossii
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The Anser rossii is closely related to snow goose (Anser caerulescens) and the emperor goose (Anser canagicus).
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1.Image source: (cropped)
Author: Andrew Cannizzaro | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 10/29/18
2.Image source: (cropped)
Author: DickDaniels ( | License: CC BY-SA 3.0 as on 10/29/18
3.Image source: (cropped)
Author: Mike Baird | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 10/29/18
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