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Cape Barren Goose

Cereopsis novaehollandiae


These are bulky geese and their almost uniformly grey plumage, bearing rounded black spots, is unique. The tail and flight feathers are blackish and the legs are pink with black feet. The short, decurved black bill and green cere gives it a very peculiar expression. The Cape Barren Goose is 75 to 100 cm (30 to 39 in) long, weighs 3 to 7 kg (6.6 to 15 lb) and has a 150 to 190 cm (59 to 75 in) wingspan; males are somewhat larger than females. This bird feeds by grazing and rarely swims. I recently posted some goslings here:


In 1968, a small number of geese were introduced to Maria Island, which is where I photographed this one.


A most peculiar goose of uncertain affiliations. It may either belong into the "true geese" and swan subfamily Anserinae or into the shelduck subfamily Tadorninae as distinct tribe Cereopsini, or be separated, possibly including the prehistorically extinct flightless New Zealand Geese of the genus Cnemiornis, in a distinct subfamily Cereopsinae.

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kdpicturemaker 8 years ago

Yes, I remember as a 'youngster' learning about how the populations had been decimated since early European settlement & how close they were to extinction. Apart from being good to eat farmers didn't like them in the crops. Bit like the Magpie Geese - they were seen far down the Australian coast & somewhat inland years ago & now mostly only in the far north. The last ones near here left or were killed off only a few years ago. They have a very trusting nature. Listening to old farmers & reading bird sighting records from here it's amazing to learn how the skies would be black with flocks of waterbirds - now you are lucky to see a lone one of most species nervously walking through the modified wetlands. Really makes me sad.

StephenSolomons 8 years ago

Many years ago they were seen in the Blue Gum Forest in the Blue Mountains National Park towards Sydney. One was helping itself to my porridge back in the day when a person could camp there. The range maps don't show them as being that far north any more and although they are not close to extinction 'Birds in Backyards' list them as the rarest geese on earth

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 8 years ago

There's plenty roaming around on Phillip Island (Vic) One thing I've noticed they're easy to approach. Maybe they evolved without serious predators for a few million years. Foxes and dogs might be their threat.

kdpicturemaker 8 years ago

Stunning portrait! How is the species fairing now?

HI lori.tas! I wish I had noticed your collection before I visited Tasmania! Love your collection.

SharniM 9 years ago

I fed a few of these geese at a wildlife park in the Adelaide hills. They're beautiful and very gentle.

lori.tas 9 years ago

Argy, the devils are now on the island, but they were not initially released in the area favored by the geese. Phillip, fortunately for us, they are vegetarian. Now that you mention it Luis, I can see that a well. This is my favorite of the photos I've taken of them: They have such elegant feathers.

LuisStevens 9 years ago

The beak looks like another birds' head, great series!

Nimbid Ditavi
Nimbid Ditavi 9 years ago

Wow! It looks like it has a vulture head instead of a beak. Awesome!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 10 years ago

The devils aren't really quick hunters - more carrion scavangers - so the geese might be mostly ok !? (we hope) Lovely shots lori.

KarenL 10 years ago

Beautiful series!

MacChristiansen 10 years ago

Nice pics Lori

lori.tas 10 years ago

Thanks p.young. It's only recently been decided to release Tasmanian devils onto the island as well. It will be interesting to see if this has any effect on the geese.

p.young713 10 years ago

Beautiful photo.

johnoh2009 10 years ago

This bird looks very mysterious. It seems that it have 4 eyes!

lori.tas 10 years ago

I've fixed the link above to my other spotting with the goslings. Chief RedEarth, these geese do have a very unusual looking bill, but I can assure it only eats grass. In fact they graze almost continuously. Ava, they are my favorite goose. Pink legs, black feet, and a acid green bill. Not to mention the very painterly feathers (best seen in this spotting: Sorry, I don't have a web page for my art. Thank you Courtney. They really are.

CourtneyVerk 10 years ago


Ava T-B
Ava T-B 10 years ago

What a strange and wonderful goose! I've never seen anything like it.
On a different note, do you have a link to more of your excellent art?

Spotted by

Tasmania, Australia

Spotted on Sep 1, 2012
Submitted on Sep 6, 2012

Spotted for Mission

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