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Swan Goose Kashmir (1 Viewer)

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
I came across this photo (attached) in the UK Guardian newspaper online today. The caption is "Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir.
A villager feeds rice to domestic fowl on the outskirts of Srinagar, Photograph: Dar Yasin/AP"

At the bottom right of the picture, there seems to be a Swan Goose which as far as I can see is not some domesticated variant.

I was lucky enough to see one of these birds as a vagrant in Japan last year, about 100km from my house.

But I think Kashmir is a long way outside its natural range.

So: is it a food species in places such as Kashmir? And, if so, surely escapees should have linked over the years to its regular habitat more to the east?

Or have I just got the species wrong?

I'd be interested (just for interest's sake) to hear any comments.
 

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johnallcock

Well-known member
It will be a domesticated bird, I'm sure. It's hard to make out many features but it seems to have a more rounded head than the wild birds and I think it has a 'knob' at the base of the bill.

They are not particularly unusual in captivity, at least in China. I don't know about the situation in Kashmir but it wouldn't surprise me too much if you also find the domestic form there, perhaps historically traded along the Silk Road.
 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
It will be a domesticated bird, I'm sure. It's hard to make out many features but it seems to have a more rounded head than the wild birds and I think it has a 'knob' at the base of the bill.

They are not particularly unusual in captivity, at least in China. I don't know about the situation in Kashmir but it wouldn't surprise me too much if you also find the domestic form there, perhaps historically traded along the Silk Road.

Thanks for the reply, John.

BW (formerly HBW) gives a distribution far from Kashmir.

My question had two points:

1. I thought that domesticated fowl tended to be significantly and obviously different from the original species.

2. I wondered why - if it's been domesticated - escapees haven't linked to the original homeland which, while not close is not that far away, either.
 

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johnallcock

Well-known member
1. Domesticated Swan Goose (Chinese Goose) is usually quite similar to the wild type, except for structural differences in the head and usually being fatter. They can very easily be confused. We had one several years ago in HK that initially confused even experienced birders, thinking it was the first Swan Goose for HK.
https://johnjemi.blogspot.com/2012/11/swan-goose-anser-cygnoides-at-mai-po.html
You can also see white birds or hybrids with domestic Greylag Geese.

2. I'm sorry, I still don't understand your question. What do you mean by 'linked to the original homeland'?
Escaped domesticated Swan Geese do turn up across Asia (see HK example above) and probably can be found in the native range (at least the wintering range, possibly breeding as well). There doesn't seem any reason that escaped domestic Swan Geese should move towards the native range any more than escaped domestic Greylag Geese, Mallards, Spot-billed Ducks or chickens.
 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
2. I'm sorry, I still don't understand your question. What do you mean by 'linked to the original homeland'?
Escaped domesticated Swan Geese do turn up across Asia (see HK example above) and probably can be found in the native range (at least the wintering range, possibly breeding as well). There doesn't seem any reason that escaped domestic Swan Geese should move towards the native range any more than escaped domestic Greylag Geese, Mallards, Spot-billed Ducks or chickens.

What I meant is that if these birds have been domesticated as far as India for a reasonable number of years, then why would the regions where they are found on the HBW map I attached not simply join up because of escapees meeting wild birds?

Indeed, maybe the bird I was excited about seeing last year (attached) was actually an escaped domestic bird? Nobody I know suggested that, but I didn't realise that it was domesticated anywhere anyway.
 

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johnallcock

Well-known member
What I meant is that if these birds have been domesticated as far as India for a reasonable number of years, then why would the regions where they are found on the HBW map I attached not simply join up because of escapees meeting wild birds?

Because the map shows the native range of wild birds. Look at the maps of Greylag Goose, Mallard, Red Junglefowl, Rock Dove, etc and you will see they also don't show the presence of escaped domestic birds. Similarly the range maps on HBW of introduced species like Rose-ringed Parakeet, Common Starling, etc. only shows the native range of those species.


Indeed, maybe the bird I was excited about seeing last year (attached) was actually an escaped domestic bird? Nobody I know suggested that, but I didn't realise that it was domesticated anywhere anyway.

This looks like a wild bird - note the long, pointed bill with sloping forehead. Given the native range, it's not surprising as a wild vagrant in Japan.
 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
Many of us last year were excited to be able to see this bird, and some of us went quite a long way to see it, especially as HBW / BW have it as vulnerable.

I had no idea that it was also domesticated. Maybe it would be a good idea if BW and similar also contained information about the domestication status of appropriate birds?
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
What I meant is that if these birds have been domesticated as far as India for a reasonable number of years, then why would the regions where they are found on the HBW map I attached not simply join up because of escapees meeting wild birds?

Indeed, maybe the bird I was excited about seeing last year (attached) was actually an escaped domestic bird? Nobody I know suggested that, but I didn't realise that it was domesticated anywhere anyway.

I'm sure you both know this but worth noting the ebird maps for "wild" and domesticated swan goose. For the former the records trickle between breeding and wintering areas with Japan firmly included. The domesticated map is quite spotty with little indication of infill and many records from Europe. I'm willing to bet the domestic one is under-recorded and the "wild" map includes birds which aren't
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Because the map shows the native range of wild birds. Look at the maps of Greylag Goose, Mallard, Red Junglefowl, Rock Dove, etc and you will see they also don't show the presence of escaped domestic birds. Similarly the range maps on HBW of introduced species like Rose-ringed Parakeet, Common Starling, etc. only shows the native range of those species.
Yet oddly, they do include non-native range for Canada Goose (NW Europe & New Zealand) - any idea why??
 

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