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Blagdon Lake Birds

 Taiga Bean Goose Anser fabalis [Latham, 1787]

Taiga Bean Goose A. f. fabalis

(Extremely rare WV)


  1. Ten, 10th-25th Feb. 1990 (R.M. Curber, A.H. Davis et al.)



A List of British Birds (BOU, 1915) states that the Bean Goose Anser fabalis is a winter visitor, more common on the west coast of Britain than on the east. It was also common in central Ireland many years ago (Yarrell, 1884-1885) but is no longer a common visitor to Britain with just two flocks of the southern Swedish Taiga Bean Goose A. f. fabalis population wintering in the Yare Valley, Norfolk and Central Scotland on a regular basis. On other occasions we get winter influxes of the Tundra Bean Goose A. serrirostris which breed on the western tundras of Russia and usually winter in The Netherlands, Germany, France and central Europe. When they arrive in Britain, these birds are prone to wander around the country during winter. They generally start their migration back to the breeding grounds in February.

Bean Goose taxonomy has been subject to fairly regular revision in the last two decades and I have added some recent research findings under the closely related Pink-footed Goose heading. The British Ornithologist's Union (BOU) recognised two species until recently, Bean and Pink-footed Geese. However, the International Ornithological Congress (IOC) recognises 3 species, Taiga Bean Goose Anser fabalis, Tundra Bean Goose Anser serrirostris and Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus, and these were adopted by the BOU on 1st January 2018.

A flock of ten birds noted feeding together in a field on the north side of the lake by the duck count team in February 1990 were identified as Taiga Bean Geese and this is the only record of this species to have occurred. The Report on National Wildfowl Counts states that, unusually, very small groups of Bean Geese appeared at numerous sites in Britain during the 1989/90 winter (ABR, 1990).

Bibliography (sources of information):

  1. British Ornithologists' Union. 1915. A List of British Birds. (2nd & revised ed.). BOU.
  2. British Ornithologists' Union (BOU) website
  3. British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) website
  4. Taylor, S.M. (ed.). Avon Bird Report, 1990. Avon Ornithological Group.
  5. Yarrell, W. 1884-1885. A History of British Birds. Volume IV. (4th ed. revised by H. Saunders). John Van Voorst, London.
Nigel Milbourne © 2009-23. All Rights Reserved.