Ridgway’s cackling goose

On Sunday night a Ridgway’s cackling goose was reported on the Exe Estuary. This species used to be considered a sub species of the Canada Goose however recent genetic work has split it into a species in its own right – Branta hutchinsii. We are all familiar with Canada geese in this country but these birds originally escaped from wildfowl collections and now breed in the wild i.e. they are feral.

The Ridgway’s cackling goose on the Exe however is thought to have been blown across the Atlantic during its migration from Northern Canada to central America and is therefore a truly wild bird. The bird was a long long way out on the mud flats off Exmouth and as a result the photos are rather poor!

Ridgway's cackling goose 2
It looks like a Canada goose but is much smaller

Ridgway's cackling goose 1
Cackling goose on the left and a brent goose on the right – gives you an indication how small they are

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