Greater White-fronted X Snow Goose hybrid – Lancaster, PA

Alex LamoreauxBird Sightings1 Comment

Yesterday evening while driving north along PA896, I noticed Snow Geese landing in a field near the road. As I drove past, I saw that it was a ‘small flock’ of only about 400 Snow Geese, so I hesitated a few moments about whether or not I should stop and scan through them for anything besides Snows. I decided to stop, and it ended up being a good idea! I scoped through the geese from right to left, and picked out a few blue Snows and noted that the group was mainly adult white birds, but then one of the last geese at the edge of the flock stood out as being quite dark and having a white line along its flanks like a Greater White-fronted Goose! The overall color of the goose was a mixture of the dark navy blue of a blue Snow Goose and the brown color of a Greater White-fronted, and its head and neck were mostly navy blue. The goose lifted its head up and I saw that it had a white border around its orange-pink bill, and a smudgy grayish-white patch on its head. My immediate impression was that it must be a hybrid Greater White-fronted X Snow Goose, although I have never seen one before. Taking a look through eBird and the Flickr hybrid birds page, it seems like very few people have ever seen them – or at least they are rarely photographed and reported. There are only 14 other North American records on eBird, plus one that Ian Davies captured excellent photos of from Japan that is very similar to the bird I saw in Lancaster County, PA. Sadly, I only managed to snap off a few distant iPhone-scoped photos since my actual camera’s battery had died earlier in the day….

Greater White-fronted X Snow Goose hybrid adult, with Snow Geese along PA896 in Lancaster County, PA (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Greater White-fronted X Snow Goose hybrid adult, with Snow Geese along PA896 in Lancaster County, PA (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

  • Steven Tucker

    I just saw my first pair (presumably siblings) last month; I think yours is the first Ive seen photos of that had dark underparts. Good stuff.