Pink-footed goose Anser brachyrhynchus

The pink-footed goose is one of our smaller geese, with a relatively short neck and a rounded head . They have a short, pink bill and pink legs. Pink-footed geese are well-known for their loud calls often performed whilst flying in a flock. Their call is described as a ‘wink-wink’ sound, as opposed to the ‘honking’ calls of greylag and Canada geese. These birds can frequently be seen flying in the characteristic V-formation that so many migrating birds use.


A common winter visitor, numbers of pink-footed geese are at an all-time high thanks to conservation work both here and on their breeding grounds. Pink-footed geese spend the summer in the breeding grounds in countries including Iceland and Greenland and return to overwinter in Scotland and the rest of the UK. They spend their winter nights resting on or near estuaries and their winter days feeding on the surrounding fields.


  • Length: 61-76cm
  • Wingspan: 1.5m
  • Weight: 2.5kg
  • Average Lifespan: 8 years


Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.


Only found here in the winter. Birds that nest in Greenland and Iceland spend the winter in Scotland, North West England and East Anglia.

When to see

September – March


  • In the UK, 372,000 individuals spend the winter on wetland and farmland habitats – that’s 90% of the world’s population!
  • In October 2015 a record breaking 85,632 pink-footed geese were counted at Montrose Basin; one quarter of the UK’s wintering population at the time.

Common name

Pink-footed goose

Species name

Anser brachyrhynchus

IUCN Red List status

Least concern

When to see in Scotland

September – March

Where to see in Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Bawsinch & Duddingston. The Trust’s Montrose Basin visitor centre is one of the best places to see this species in the UK.

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