Minimal Interest

That’s what this Cackling Goose at Daventry CP today is likely to elicit. Apparently it has been present two weeks among the local Canada Geese and, given its range along the western seaboard of North America, and its time and place of occurrence, it is almost certainly an escape – although it is a long-distance migrant!

Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii minima, Daventry CP 13th July 2014 (Mike Alibone)

Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii minima?, Daventry CP 13th July 2014 (Mike Alibone)

Cackling Goose was split from Canada Goose as long ago as 2004 and four races are recognised: hutchinsii (‘Richardson’s Cackling Goose’), taverneri (‘Taverner’s Cackling Goose’), leucopareia (‘Aleutian Cackling Goose’) and minima (‘Ridgway’s Cackling Goose’). Each race is identifiable on a combination of structure and plumage characters and the individual at Daventry most closely resembles minima in plumage but it can sometimes appear a little larger than would be expected and the head shape is not quite right, minima should show a squarer head profile and shorter bill than this bird. So is it another race or a hybrid?

Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii minima, Daventry CP 13th July 2014 (Mike Alibone)

Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii minima?, Daventry CP 13th July 2014 (Mike Alibone)

It’s between half and two-thirds the size of the accompanying Canada Geese, darker, shorter-necked and much smaller-billed. The main plumage difference is the all dark brown breast and belly, with the black at the base of the neck ‘fuzzing’ into it.

Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii minima, Daventry CP 13th July 2014 (Mike Alibone)

Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii minima?, Daventry CP 13th July 2014 (Mike Alibone)

Richardson’s Cackling Goose is similar in size and can be almost as dark but has a clear cut neckline with normally a narrow white base dividing it from the brown breast.

Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii minima, Daventry CP 13th July 2014 (Mike Alibone)

Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii minima?, Daventry CP 13th July 2014 (Mike Alibone)

Cackling Goose is not on the British List though a number of records have been accepted by BBRC. The Daventry individual is a nice bird and well worth a look, even though it must surely be an escape …

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Wildfowl. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Minimal Interest

  1. Pingback: Which Cackler? | Northantsbirds

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s