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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Collection: Species Details Lewis and Clark as Naturalists
Bird    Species Name:
Anser albifrons

Common Name:
Greater White-fronted Goose

Family:
Anatidae

Localities:
Fort Clatsop, Oregon   March 15, 1806

Specklebelly

As the greater white-fronted goose has distinct markings that set it apart from all other North American geese, Lewis had no difficulty recognizing the bird as a species different from any he had seen before.  Lewis's description is detailed, from the color of the iris to the orange legs, leaving no doubt today about the identity of this goose.  The men saw these birds in considerable numbers, both in the fall, and in the spring during migration.  The geese use parts of Oregon to stage their return to the Arctic where they breed, and again on their return south.  Populations of these geese winter as far south as Baja and southern Mexico, and the Gulf Coast.  Populations either return to the Arctic along the Pacific flyway, or by flying over the Great Plains.  They rarely travel east of the Mississippi River.



Journal Entries:

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 ...  more>>

References Scopoli, Giovanni Antonio, Historico-Naturalis, Annus I, Lipsiae, 1769

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Greater white-fronted goose head

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Greater white-fronted goose body

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Greater white-fronted goose feet

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Greater white-fronted goose bill detail

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Greater white-fronted goose feather detail

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Meriwether Lewis's field sketch of the greater white-fronted goose


 
 
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