Tetrapod Zoology

Tet Zoo picture of the day # 10

i-55ce1828fa62b746197b2a2f33a1f62f-Chinese goose.jpg

A Chinese goose: the domesticated form of the Swan goose Anser cygnoides (that’s right, more than one species of goose has been domesticated: this was always assumed based on morphological features, but was confirmed genetically in a 2006 study [abstract here]). The Swan goose is also the ancestor of the domesticated African goose. Wild swan geese are native to eastern Russia, China and Korea (they used to occur on Japan, but haven’t been recorded there since the 1970s, except as rare winter visitors) and have declined severely since the 1950s due to loss of floodplain habitat and human hunting. All domestic forms of the Swan goose have a particularly big bill knob compared to the wild forms, and it is bigger in males than females. This individual is a male. The twists, turns and blind alleys of the Swan goose vagina were studied in the highly-acclaimed recent paper by Brennan et al. (2007), available free here: I would have blogged about it, but I was busy with turtle genitals at the time.


  1. #1 David Harmon
    June 4, 2007

    OK, I looked at that picture, and my immediate thought was, “Honk!”. 😉

  2. #2 Paul I. Volkov
    June 4, 2007

    There is another domestic species of goose – white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons). At least, one extremely rare breed of this goose, Pskov bald goose (from Russia) is known.

  3. #3 Neil
    June 5, 2007

    We’ve got one of these in my local park, he went around with the canada geese in winter but they rejected him in spring so the poor fella (i think its a male) now wnaders round on his lonesome. Still very noisy though! I remeber being told on a school trip to a farm there used as guard-geese, as if anyone came to close you’d hear them honk. But judging by the aggressive nature of chinese and canada geese and the height of their heads I’d be more worried about getting a hard peck in a sensitive area!

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