Thursday, 24 March 2016

Greylag Goose X Canada Goose ( Formerly Identified as Greylag Goose X Barnacle Goose)

Possible Greylag Goose X Barnacle Goose hybrid

An unusual visitor was spotted on the Nuffield Lawn this afternoon, and not being welcomed warmly by either the Canada goose pair or the Greylag goose pair. It didn't look like either so what was it? It couldn't be a Canada goose, it didn't have the distinctive black head and neck and large white throat patch. It couldn't be a Greylag goose, it didn't have the barred grey and white plumage and the distinctive orange legs and beak. After some investigation the answer was found, it is possibly a cross between a Greylag goose and a Barnacle Goose, the first recording of this hybrid in the college gardens. For similar photographs to confirm identification click on the link:

Having contacted Dave Appleton, the writer of the blog and the creator of to confirm the identification, this goose has now been correctly identified as a Greylag Goose X Canada Goose. In his email the reasons for the reidentification are as follows:

"It is quite similar to my Greylag x Barnacle photos, but I think it's actually Greylag x Canada. There are a few pointers - in particular the very pale breast (Barnacle Goose hybrids normally show a dark breast), the longer bill (Barnacle hybrids are usually shorter-billed) and the very brown body/wing plumage (most Barnacle Goose hybrids are a little greyer than this). Your bird looks like it has quite a heavy rear end which may indicate that the Greylag Goose parent was a domestic bird."

Thank you Dave. 


  1. As one who thinks hybridisation is a much more significant factor in evolution than is recognised in standard theory I am always fascinated to find examples of natural hybrids. Well spotted chaps!

    1. Hi Roger, It has been quite interesting reading about this hybrid on other websites. Glad it was spotted at the college. regards Ali

    2. Hi Roger, this bird has been reidentified and the blog entry updated, thought you might like to know. Ali