• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

(Hybrid?) Barnacle Goose - Hampshire, UK (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
United Kingdom
Hi all,

I think I had this one down as a regular Barnacle Goose at the time, but I'm noticing a lot of black on the face and am wondering if Barnacle x Canada would be a better fit. For context, the bird was with a flock of Canada Geese. Titchfield Haven, February 2019


  • P1630742_s.jpg
    366.6 KB · Views: 62
  • P1630757_s.jpg
    492.9 KB · Views: 31


Well-known member
United Kingdom
Thanks! Perhaps it is an offspring from the Barnacle Goose that used to hang out with the Canada flock at Farlington Marshes.

Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
I agree, looks like a Barnacle x Cackling Goose-hybrid to me. I suspect this and not one of the "larger" Canada-Goose-"species" as one parent, because of the stubby bill.

The few (suspected) Barnacle x Canada-hybrids I have seen (wild and in zoos/collection) and the photos and comments by Jörn of Canada-hybrids had a larger/longer bill, so I suspect a Cackling Goose-ancestry.

I suspect that my answer is messy/incorrect (?) regarding the Canada Goose systematics, but I still hope its a useful contribution.

Joern Lehmhus

Well-known member
I agree that this individual looks like Cackling x Barnacle.

However, generally the difficulty here is that hybrids Canada x Barnacle and hybrids Cackling x Barnacle are fertile.
So either hybrid could cross with either possible parent species or with another hybrid. And these young from such a pairing would also be fertile, and their offspring also.

So wha we perceive as hybrids cackling x barnacle goose, could in some cases be a barnacle goose with hybrid Canada goose ancestry.


Well-known member
United Kingdom
Surely Cackling x Barnacle would be extremely rare in the UK? Very few wild cacklings make it here, and I don't know of any source of feral birds


Well-known member
In the Amsterdam area, hybrids were very common. Most large flocks of Barnacle or Canada Geese contained a hybrid or a few, if one looked carefully. From my observations, they readily formed pairs and bred with whatever parent species was more common, and already 3-rd generation hybrids are difficult to distinguish from a pure species.

I heard people arguing that Cackling Goose in the Netherlands does not exist because pure-looking birds might be hybrids. However, this would automatically mean that Barnacle and Canada Geese do not exist, because pure-looking birds should be hybrids too. Actually much more likely because back-crosses form pairs with more available partners (Barnacle and Canada, not relatively rarer Cackling) and melt into these species.

Users who are viewing this thread