The Ross's Goose can
sometimes be found with its close cousin, the Snow
Goose, as they migrate through the state. While quite similar, Ross's
Geese can be differentiated from the Snow Goose by
their smaller size, shorter stubby bill with a warty blue base, lack of a
"grinning patch" on the beak, and shorter neck. They were once
considered extremely rare, but have been increasing in numbers in recent
decades. They are the smallest goose normally found in North America.
Habitat: Breeds on the Arctic Tundra,
primarily in wetland areas of mixed grass and brushy thickets. In
migration and in winter, they can be found in a variety of aquatic environments,
as well as agricultural fields where they may feed heavily on waste grain.
Diet: Primarily feeds on grasses and sedges. Also
can feed quite heavily on roots, seeds, and waste grain in farm fields.
Behavior: Will forage by either walking along the
land, or by swimming or wading in shallow water. Gregarious, usually
in flocks. In migration in the state, nearly always found in groups of
Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota
Song: Generally quiet. Does have
high-pitched keek-keek call, and a lower grunting call.
Migration: Summers in or near the Arctic Circle. Most winter
in central California, but with increasing numbers of the species in recent
decades, they have also begun to winter in other locations in the southwestern
Conservation Status: Populations are increasing in the past few
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Ross's Goose"
eNature.com: Ross's Goose
Whatbird.com: Ross's Goose
Photo Information: March 23rd, 2003 - Western
Minnehaha County, South Dakota - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Ross's Goose photos.