White-fronted Goose

white fronted gooseThe Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) is widely nicknamed  Specklebelly, or just Speck by hunters because of their characteristically black-mottled bellies.  Other colloquial descriptions are bar-belly, tar-belly, laughing goose and giggle chicken.  Both sexes of this medium-sized goose are similar in appearance with pinkish or orangish bills, distinctive white frontal facial patch, overall brown-gray body with distinctive white hindquarters, a white line at top of side pocket, naval orange-colored legs. Male white-fronted geese are only slightly larger than  females and may normally have more prominent barring on the underbelly. Like the white frontal patch, the belly patchwork is individually variable.  Mantle, scapulars and retrials medium gray-brown with pale feather fringes forming traverse barring. Juvenil White-fronted geese can be distinguished as lacking both the black mottling and the white facial plumage. In flight, the White-fronted Goose’s secondaries and entirety of the primaries are dark gray, and a white horseshoe-shaped patch can be seen above the tail feathers. White-fronted Geese are arguably the chattiest goose species. Their call, which they make in flight, sounds like klew yo-yo or leek-leek, and is described as a high-pitched laugh. Expert callers have described speckle bellies as having 9 distinct vocalizations. “You have to know what they’re talking about before interrupting the conversation,” described one southwest Louisiana call maker during a morning hunt before making them do back flips towards the decoys on hearing his first note.