A tiny white goose with black wingtips, the Ross's Goose is like a miniature version of the more abundant Snow Goose. It breeds in the central Arctic and winters primarily in central California, but it is becoming more frequent farther east.
Downy young come in two colors: yellow and gray. The two forms look identical once they get real feathers.
Very rarely a Ross's Goose can be found that is dark-colored like a blue morph Snow Goose. These blue morph Ross's Geese are thought to be the result of hybridization with Snow Geese.
Prior to the 1950s the Ross's Goose was confined to well-defined breeding and wintering areas, with few seen as strays. Since that time the species has been expanding eastward, both on the breeding and wintering grounds. The change in breeding distribution has resulted in more contact and subsequent hybridization with the Snow Goose.
The female Ross's Goose does all of the incubation of the eggs. The male stays nearby and guards her the whole time. The female covers the eggs with down when she leaves the nest. The down keeps the eggs warm while she is away and may help hide them from predators.Bibliographic Citation
: "Ross's Goose (Chen rossii)." The Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds. Citation Link
Accessed 28 Jan 2014.