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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Journals Lewis and Clark as Naturalists

Greater White-fronted Goose

Capt. Lewis, March 15, 1806--There is a third speceis of brant in the neighbourhood of this place which is about the size and much the form of the pided brant. they weigh about 8 ½ lbs. the wings are not as long nor so pointed as those of the common pided brant. the following is a likeness of it’s head and beak. a little distance around the base of the beak is white and is suddonly succeeded by a narrow line of dark brown. the ballance of the neck, head, back, wings, and tail all except the tips of the feathers are of a bluish brown of the common wild goose. the breast and belly are white with an irregular mixture of black feathers which give that part a pided appearance. from the legs back underneath the tail, and around the junction of the same with the body above, the feathers are white. the tail is composed of 18 feathers; the longest of which are in the center and measure 6 Inches with the barrel of the quill; those on the sides of the tail are something shorter and bend with their extremities inwards towards the center of the tail. the extremities of these feathers are white. the beak is of a light flesh colour. the legs and feet which do not differ in structure from those of the goose or brant of the other speceis, are of an orrange yellow colour. the eye is small; the iris is a dark yellowish brown, and pupil black. the note of this brant is much that of the common pided brant from which in fact they are not to be distinguished at a distance, but they certainly are a distinct spe[c]i[e]s of brant. the flesh of this fowl is as good as that of the common pided brant. they not remain here during the winter in such numbers as the white brant do, tho’ they have now returned in considerable quantities. first saw them below tide-water.

Capt. Clark, March 15, 1806--There is a third species of brant in the neighbourhood of this place which is about the size and much the form of the b[p]ided brant. they weigh about 8 ½ lbs. the wings are not as long nor so pointed as those of the common pided brant. the following is a likeness of it’s head and beak. a little distance around the base of the beak is white and is suddenly succeeded by a narrow line of dark brown. the ballance of the neck, head, back, wings, and tail all except the tips of the feathers are of a bluish brown of the common wild goose. the breast and belly are white with an irregular mixture of black feathers which give that part a pided appearance. from the legs back underneath the tail, and around the junction of the same with the body above, the feathers are white. the tail is composed of 18 feathers; the longest of which are in the center and measure 6 inches with the barrel of the quill; those on the sides of the tail are something shorter and bend with their extremities inwards towards the center of the tail. the extremities of these feathers are white. the beak is of a light flesh colour. the legs and feet which do not differ in structure from those of the Goose or brant of the other species, are of an orrange yellow colour. the eye is small; the iris is a dark yellowish brown, and puple black. the note of this brant is much that of the common pided brant from which in fact they are not to be distinguished at a distance, but they certainly are a distinct species of brant. the flesh of this fowl is as good as that of the common pided brant. they do not remain here during the winter in such numbers as the white brant do, tho’ they have now returned in considerable quantities. we first met with this brant on tide water.

 
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