Lesser White-fronted Goose

Anser erythropus (Linnaeus, 1758) LC LWFGO 1600
Family: Anseriformes > Anatidae

Lesser White-fronted Goose, Simon Gillings

A small grey goose with a distinctive yellow eye-ring, this is a rare (and declining) visitor from its arctic breeding grounds. Escapes from waterfowl collections are, however, common.

A sighting of Britain's second Lesser White-fronted Goose on the Severn led the naturalist Sir Peter Scott to set up the Wildfowl Trust (now WWT) at Slimbridge, a move which led to the BBC's Natural History Unit being established in Bristol.

The species breeds from north-east Europe east to Siberia and winters in south-east Europe and south-west Asia.

Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Lesser White-fronted Goose

  • Breeding
  • Winter


1.2k records observations recorded by BTO surveyors
1.2k records



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Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.


We have no population estimates for this scarce species.


Lesser White-fronted Geese are very rare winter vagrants to Britain, a situation confused by the presence of escapes, some showing evidence of hybridisation. Since the 1981–84 Winter Atlas the species has more than doubled its winter range size but it is impossible to be certain about the provenance of all individuals. However, the fact that ten 10-km squares were occupied during the breeding season casts doubt on these records being of vagrants. Most records were from the southern half of England, a pattern shared with many non-native species. A cluster of records in Norfolk may constitute wild birds migrating with Taiga Bean Geese, but known escapes are also present there.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2



Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.


Lifecycle and body size information about Lesser White-fronted Goose, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.


Sample sizes are too small to report Productivity and Nesting statistics for this species.


Sample sizes are too small to report Biometrics for this species.

Feather measurements and photos on featherbase


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Gaelic: Gèadh-bhlàr-beag
Welsh: Gwydd Dalcenwen Fechan
Catalan: oca riallera petita
Czech: husa malá
Danish: Dværggås
Dutch: Dwerggans
Estonian: väike-laukhani
Finnish: kiljuhanhi
French: Oie naine
German: Zwerggans
Hungarian: kis lilik
Icelandic: Fjallgæs
Irish: Mionghé Bhánéadanach
Italian: Oca lombardella minore
Latvian: maza zoss
Lithuanian: mažoji žasis
Norwegian: Dverggås
Polish: ges mala
Portuguese: ganso-pequeno
Slovak: hus malá
Slovenian: mala gos
Spanish: Ánsar chico
Swedish: fjällgås

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