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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Did You Know? Incredible Swan Goose Facts

Swan goose facts give us an idea about this interesting species of bird.

The swan goose (Anser cygnoides) is a species of a rare bird that belongs to the family of Anatidae. This geese species are named because of their graceful necks resembling that of a swan. They are native to the coastal regions and marshlands of East Asian countries like north China, Mongolia, and southeastern Russia. They live in meadows and marshlands near lakes, ponds, rivers, or other wetlands. They fly south to the central and east of China, and sometimes to Japan and Korea. They occasionally fly to Laos, Thailand, coastal Siberia, Taiwan, and Uzbekistan to survive the cold and harsh climate.

The swan geese population usually feeds on grass, roots, leaves, and plants near the lakes or any other water body. They also like having berries and seeds as their food. The breeding season of this bird is from April to May after which a nest is made on the ground with leaves where a female lays five to six eggs and incubates them for 28 days. Habitat loss and illegal hunting are the main threats to this species.

Keep reading to learn more interesting Chinese swan goose facts. If you like reading about animals, you may also find our articles on grebe and ring-necked duck interesting.

Swan Goose Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a swan goose?

The swan goose (Anser cygnoides) is a rare type of bird belonging to the family of Anatidae. It is also known as the Chinese goose.

What class of animal does a swan goose belong to?

A swan goose belongs to the class Aves and phylum Chordata. This domesticated geese species is also known as Chinese goose or African goose.

How many swan geese are there in the world?

Swan geese are rare birds and their population size is around 60,000 to 90,000 in total in the wild.  

Where does a swan goose live?

The natural range of swan geese is in parts of eastern Asian countries like north China, Mongolia, and southeastern Russia. These are migratory birds who travel to eastern and Central China to survive the winter. Some wandering birds in winter can also be found in parts of Japan and Korea and occasionally in Laos, Thailand, coastal Siberia, Taiwan, and Uzbekistan.

What is a swan goose's habitat?

These wild birds prefer to live near coastal regions and marshlands. Meadows, valleys, and grasslands near lakes, ponds, rivers, or other wetlands are home to these birds. They spend summer at high altitudes which are usually 2001-2693 ft (610-821 m) higher than sea level  in the Mongol Daguur highland steppe. These wild birds migrate in the southern direction to survive the winter. After resting near any wetlands or coastal areas, they finally settle near Shengjin Lake, Lake Poyang, Lake Dongting, and the Yangtze River. The migration starts in early August and they return in April.

Who do swan geese live with?

These wild geese are social, migratory birds and they tend to loiter in small flocks around the lakes. A dominant male goose is noted as the head of each group. These birds migrate together but a few groups may divide and reside in different locations.

How long does a swan goose live?

The lifespan of wild swan geese can not be measured because these migratory birds are difficult to monitor. These birds can live around 20 to 40 years in captivity with proper care.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of swan geese is from April to May. Swan geese form monogamous bonds and tend to mate with a particular partner for one breeding season. To attract a prospective partner, sometimes a male wild goose will groom himself to make him more appealing to the females. Sometimes they fight with other males and the one who wins the fight gets the opportunity to mate with the female. They make a nest on the ground with leaves where a female lays five to six eggs and incubates them for 28 days. A male swan goose guards the territory to protect the family.

The goslings are born with good eyesight and developed bodies and learn how to fly in just eight weeks. After staying with the parents for another two to three weeks, these goslings become ready to leave the nest and migrate towards their wintering grounds at the end of August. The young ones can mate from the age of one to three years.

What is their conservation status?

The conversation status of swan geese as per the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List is Vulnerable, with a mere 60,000 to 90,000 of this species existing in the world. This species is decreasing in number. They are losing their natural habitat due to dam construction and deforestation. Apart from this, they are subject to illegal hunting and in China, their eggs are illegally collected which causes a threat to their existence.

Swan Goose Fun Facts

What do swan geese look like?

A swan goose (Anser cygnoides) is a grayish-brown color with a long neck and maroon eyes. Its long black-colored bill is circled with a distinct white stripe that circles the entire area and separates it from the head. They are overall white in color but their feathers are dark brown on their backside, underside, and wings. They have orange-colored legs and feet just like any other species from the Anatidae family. The only difference between male and female swan geese is that males are a bit bigger in size. Goslings look different because they have a paler plumage and the dark brown streaks on the belly and the white base of the bills are missing.

A domesticated goose, also known as a Chinese goose, has two physical features which are missing in a wild swan goose.  One is a broad knob-like structure at its bill base and another one is a white patch behind its black bill.

A swan goose has dark brown feathers on its backside.

How cute are they?

Swan geese look very cute when they are seen preening each other to show their love and affection. Apart from that, goslings are also quite adorable.

How do they communicate?

Swan geese communicate through their loud ascending calls which sound like honking. When the birds belong to the same group, they mostly communicate with each other by wiggling their heads and honking slightly higher than usual. If they want to warn their group, they make the same honking sound but in repeated intervals. Geese also honk and produce duets with their partners.

How big is a swan goose?

Swan geese are a large and rare species of geese who are 32-37 in (81-94 cm) long, almost six times the size of an adult house sparrow.

How fast can a swan goose move?

The speed of a swan goose has not been measured yet but this species covers a range of almost 1553.4- 1864.1 mi (2500-3000 km) during their migration.

How much does a swan goose weigh?

A Chinese swan goose is a large bird from the family of Anatidae who weighs around 6.17-7.7 lb (2.8-3.5 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Like any other species of geese, a male and female swan goose is called a gander and a goose respectively.

What would you call a baby swan goose?

A baby swan goose is called a gosling. They are precocial in nature and can fend for themselves almost immediately after they hatch from the eggs.

What do they eat?

Since they are herbivores, the main source of food for a swan goose is grass, roots, leaves, and plants near lakes or any other water body. Apart from their regular food, they enjoy eating seeds and berries as well. The short yet strong bill of a swan goose helps it to graze meadows and fields to feed on canary grass in their wintering range quite easily. A domesticated swan goose likes to have rice, grains as well as water plants like the wild species.

Are they dangerous?

Like any other species of geese, swan geese are also not dangerous in nature. Although, if a human or an animal invades their territory and tries to touch their eggs, they become quite aggressive and tend to attack or bite them. A wild swan goose should be kept away from children as it can cause them serious injury if threatened.

Would they make a good pet?

They are not kept as pets but are commonly domesticated beyond their natural range. These geese are commercialized in China for meat and eggs. These domesticated swan geese also help farmers by grazing their fields and eliminating  weeds and other dead leaves.

Did you know...

Wild swan geese are team players. They coordinate with each other during their harsh migration flights by honking so that the others can maintain pace. The leading goose guides the way and when he gets exhausted, another one takes up the responsibility to guide the flock to their goal.

People should not feed these birds at local ponds because it is quite harmful to their health. There are many laws nowadays which restrict us from feeding them because these birds fall sick and occasionally starve themselves if they do not get that particular food regularly.

A goose is not a swan but they can interbreed on rare occasions, and their offsprings are called swoose.

Can swan geese fly?

Wild Chinese swan geese are migratory birds who travel to eastern and central China during the winter to survive the cold climate, therefore they can fly. On the other hand, a domesticated swan goose cannot fly because of its heavier weight. However, it can fly above the ground if a predator tries to threaten it.

How do you tell the gender of a swan goose?

Unlike many animals and birds, it is difficult to identify the gender of a swan goose but if you look carefully, you will notice that males have longer bills and neck. They are also a bit bigger in size compared to females.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including crested duck, or laughing gull.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Swan goose coloring pages.

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