The swan goose is a migratory bird species that’s primarily located in areas of Russia, Mongolia, and China. They are 31 to 37 inches (81 to 95 cm) long, with a thin neck like a swan. These geese have a black bill, and their neck is generally dark shaded on the back area and the sides, while the front is solid white. Their wings and back are also generally brown shaded with a slightly mottled pattern. The swan goose has suffered from population declines, and it is considered endangered in several areas.
In terms of habitat, the swan goose is relatively comfortable in a diverse set of locations. They usually prefer to live near water, but they rarely spend much time swimming. In breeding season they are usually found near fresh bodies of water, including lakes, rivers, and creeks. In winter during their migratory period, they normally live in areas near the ocean.
These birds are mostly plant eaters, and they generally graze on various grasses and weeds growing around inland water sources. Farmers have been known to use the swan goose to help control weeds on their lands, and their comfort level with living on dry land has served them well in these situations. When necessary, they will venture into the water and graze on marine plant life as well.
These birds generally begin breeding in late April or early May. The Swan goose generally likes to build its nest in high grasses as a way to hide the eggs from predators. Sometimes they even build their nests on small islands in the middle of rivers, making them harder to access. A normal clutch is around six eggs, and they are incubated for approximately 30 days. The young from several different clutches can often gather together and form larger groups after hatching.
When it comes to population, the swan goose has been threatened quite severely. These birds have a special protected status in areas throughout their habitat range, including parts of China, Korea, Mongolia and Russia. The primary threat in most areas is a combination of over hunting and habitat destruction. Even with these problems, studies have shown that that their population is decreasing at a slower pace than most researchers predicted. Their numbers have decreased significantly overall, but some experts think it will be easier to deal with the problem than originally anticipated. Researchers are trying to gather more population data so the birds can be more effectively protected, and in some cases, they are using radio transmitters to monitor their movements over time.