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Ross's or Snow Goose?

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I agree with @Birding Boy that this is a good candidate for hybrid Snow x Ross Goose, as the head and bill shape are not as compact as I'd expect with Ross's and there is a pretty significant grin patch. 

If I had to call it one or the other, I'd say it looks closer to Ross's Goose. But I like hybrid here. With pure Ross's I'd expect a shorter bill and steeper forehead.

Edited by AlexHenry
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I would tentatively agree with hybrid SNGO x ROGO. The bill seems like a smaller version of a SNGO bill, not small and stubby like a ROGO bill. The head shape is also less rounded than I would expect for ROGO. I think it's a little hard to say with the grin patch, as it seems pretty slight.

This website does a good job of comparing the two and also includes hybrids.


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I've got no problem with this being an immature male Ross's Goose. In all goose species, males and females are of different sizes and often of different shapes. Male Ross's Geese are larger, with larger heads and slightly bigger bills than those of females.

Note that the bits of black smudging on head and neck are remnants of juvenile plumage. Similarly-aged Snow Geese are still sporting a lot of dark plumage bits, such that an f1 hybrid would probably have much more dark plumage than this bird shows, because juv Ross's start out with so little dark plumage, unlike juv Snows.

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