Saturday, 7 March 2015

Day 126 - Bar-rilliant Bar-headed Geese

Hey everyone,
Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus)

It's day 126 and I got over to my favourite local reserve today, Nosterfield, for a little ramble around. We saw lots of the usual favourites like Lapwings, Oysterctachers, Curlews, and Wigeon. In the hedgerows there were lots of Robins singing, Great Tits, Blue Tits and I watched a little group of Long-tailed Tits fluttering along looking for food. They were making the softest little chirps to each other as they were doing it. It was while watching the hedgerows I saw a big mixed group of geese which I thought at first were Greylags and Canada Geese. In between them though was different goose which I thought might be a hybrid, but with the help of my twitter friends at Nosterfield I found out it was a Bar-headed Goose. These are amazing birds....

Bar-headed goose with Greylag Goose

  • They are the world`s highest flying birds! One of the team that climbed Everest in 1953, George Lowe who supported Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, reported the geese flying over the mountain - that's over 29,000 feet high!
  • The air that high up has much less oxygen in it and the reason they are able to do this is they have adapted bigger lungs and more blood vessels in the heart and flight muscles.
  • They need to be able to fly this high as they migrate over the Himalayas between Mongolia and India.
  • Part of their strategy in flying this high over the mountains is that they go up and down like a rollercoaster, that way they don't have to stay at very high altitude all of the time which would be very hard as the air is thin and has as little as 7% oxygen.
  • Their name comes from the two dark bar bars on their heads. They are also know as Indian geese.
Bar-headed Goose with Canada Goose
  • It is thought that a few pairs nest in the wild in the UK.
  • They are most often spotted as single birds mixed in flocks of Greylags and Canada Geese much like I saw today but there were two of them.
  • The male and female of the species look the same. They mate for life.
  • They are quite large being 68-78cm long, have wingspan of 140-160cm and weigh between 2 and 3 kilograms.
Hope you enjoyed hearing about these amazing birds. Nature is amazing, I didn't expect my little ramble today to turn up the highest flying bird in the world! Here's a few links to find out more:

Hope you enjoyed,


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