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

rylirk

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
 

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rylirk

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.
 

rylirk

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
 

jurek

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.
 

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