Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Which Canada Goose?

 Cackling Goose (?), or Lesser Canada Goose, (?) Aleutian Goose or B.h. taverneri (?)
-Any ideas by readers much appreciated with many thanks!
(Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan, October 27, 2010)

I originally thought these were Cackling Geese, but I'm a little confused by my bird guides. These clearly have a white collar (around the base of the neck) but the photos in the only guide I have depicting "Cackling Geese" don't have any hint of white collars. Another older, Japanese guide, has only one goose species that looks anything like this and just has it listed as a "Canada Goose"; and according to the third guide, Birds of East Asia - China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Russia (by Mark Brazil), they are a subspecies of,  "Lesser Canada Goose" but again the white-collars of these birds seem to indicate they are more likely  "Aleutian Goose" Branta hutchinsii leucopareia and not "Cackling Goose" Branta hutchinsii minima (which is fairly small and again depicted without having a white collar). ....And in hindsight, I thought these were fairly large, which according to the Brazil guide they could even be Branta hutchinsii taverneri, (but doesn't list the common name). I remember a few days after I saw them I asked a Japanese friend what they possibly were and he just gave me a Japanese name which just "vagued me out".

Fukushimagata, Niigata has waterbirds in the tens of thousands in Autumn and I didn't think they were that special at the time.