Taiga Bean Goose Anser (fabalis) fabalis

Taiga Bean Goose is now treated by some authorities as a distinct species from Tundra Bean Goose. There are two populations of Taiga Bean Geese wintering in the UK, one in SW Scotland and the other in the Yare Valley in Norfolk. The latter can, with patience, usually been seen from either Cantley or Buckenham but the views afforded are usually poor and distance is a problem. Do not attempt to approach these birds as you will certainly flush them long before you get close enough. The area also contains Pink-footed Geese, and remember that first-winter White-fronted Goose is also a confusion risk when viewing from a distance.

Away from the two main sites Taiga Bean Goose is an extrememly rare bird in the UK - probably even more so than the few reports suggest as many observers do not appreciate the variation possible within Tundra Bean Goose. Any lone Bean Goose among a flock of Pink-footed Geese is very much more likely to be Tundra than Taiga.

Tundra Bean Geese show significant variation in the size, shape and pattern of the bill, as well as in their overall size. Some individuals may be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to separate from Taiga Bean Goose. For this reason I am very wary of any claims of single Taiga Bean Geese among the Pink-footed Geese. Most of the photos below were from the Yare Valley where the ID is pretty safe, but the first set were a lone bird at Holkham (not mixing with the Pink-feet as the Tundra Beans tend to). It seems to tick all the boxes for Taiga (although the extent of white on the tail was surprising for any Bean Goose)...

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Taiga Bean Goose, Holkham (Norfolk, UK), 9th March 2010

 

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Taiga Bean Geese (with a Lesser White-fronted Goose in the bottom 3 images), Buckenham (Norfolk, UK), 2nd January 2012

 

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Taiga Bean Geese, Buckenham (Norfolk, UK), 1st January 2010