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Possible observations of the bean goose subspecies anser fabalis serrirostris and anser fabalis johanseni

Possible observations of the bean goose subspecies anser fabalis serrirostris and anser fabalis johanseni

Limosa 53(1): 21-24

In Jan. and Feb. 1979, large numbers of bean geese from eastern populations came to the Netherlands as a result of severe cold weather. This appeared from the numerous observations of taiga-bean geese-A. f. fabalis. These geese can be distinguished from the tundra-bean geese-A. f. rossicus by their large but slender size and long, predominantly orange yellow bills. In almost every group of A. f. fabalis some birds with more black than yellow bills occur, but otherwise they are similar to other geese. Probably this concerns individual color variations and does not point to birds of different geographic origin. During observations of many thousands of bean geese in the winter 1978, a few times birds were seen, which as a group ( mostly as family group) clearly differed from the other geese by a number of distinguishing characteristics. Fourteen very large tundra bean geese were seen in Feb. 1979 near Vught. They may have belonged to A. f. serrirostris. After the observation of a presumably mixed family of A. f. johanseni .times. A. f. fabalis on Feb. 20, 1979 near Waspik, families of 5 bean geese with characteristics of A. f. johanseni were observed near Beuningen on Feb. 22, 1979 and near Amerongen on Feb. 23, 1979. In all cases these birds probably belonged to subspecies whose distribution extends eastward from the areas of A. f. rossicus and A. f. fabalis. The appearance of such birds in western Europe can be explained by the severe cold in northern, eastern and central Europe. In the future, it will be important to pay attention to bean geese which as a group or family clearly differ from other such groups, especially during severe cold.

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