Bar-headed goose

(Anser indicus)


Bar-headed goose IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The bar-headed goose in one of the larger geese with body-weights ranging from 2 to 3 kg.

The plumage is grey and white with two horseshoe-shaped, brownish-black bars on the back of the white head. The bill and legs are pink, orange, or yellow.

Nesting may be colonial. The female lays 4-6 white eggs and incubates them for 27 days.

Did you know?
that every spring flocks of bar-headed geese fly from India through the Himalayan range, above Mount Everest, on their way to their nesting grounds in Tibet. They are capable of flying through the passes of the highest mountains at heights of 2600-4200 m with winds that blow at speeds of more than 300 kmh and temperatures low enough to freeze exposed flesh instantly.


Class AVES
Suborder ANSERES
Name (Scientific) Anser indicus
Name (English) Bar-headed goose
Name (French) Oie à tête barrée
Name (German) Streifengans
Name (Spanish) Ansar indio
Local names Hindi: Hans, Rajhans, Birwa, Sawan
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Appendix II (as Anatidae spp.)



Photo Copyright by
Adrian Pingstone



Range Breeds on high mountain lakes in SE Russia, N India and W China, and winters in India and N Burma. Occurs in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Thailand, Viet Nam. Vagrants may be seen in Kazakhstan and Lao PDR. There are also some extralimital populations e.g. in Canada or the Netherlands.
Habitat Breeding is associated with inland lakes. Foraging on grasslands, arable land and coastal areas.
Wild population Global population estimated to be between 52,000 and 60,000 individuals by Wetlands International (2002)
Zoo population 782 reported to ISIS (2006)

In the Zoo

Bar-headed goose


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 17 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
J. M. Garg

Why do zoos keep this animal

This is the most attractive of the "grey" geese. It is kept for educational reasons, often in mixed Asian exhibits together with ungulates, cranes and other waterfowl. Outside the breeding season it may be kept in walk-thru exhibits, alowing for close encounters with the public. It is thus a good ambassador species for Asian grasslands and wetlands.