Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Bean Goose (Anser fabalis)


French: Oie des moissons German: Saatgans Spanish: Ánsar campestre

Anas Fabalis


, 1787,

Great Britain


Closely related to A. brachyrhynchus, which has been considered a race of present species. Taxonomic treatment of this complex has varied: in addition to recognition of A. brachyrhynchus as a full species, some studies have advanced the case for treating race serrirostris (with rossicus) as a separate species, morphologically and reproductively distinct from the three taiga populations of present species#R#R#R; a subsequent phylogenetic review also recognized three species within the complex, but in this case A. brachyrhynchus, A. fabalis (including rossicus and serrirostris) and A. middendorffii (incorporating johanseni as a synonym)#R. In view of the contradictory findings of these various studies, and the fact that races intergrade to an uncertain extent, it would seem safer for the time being to retain the widely recognized treatment of two species, A. brachyrhynchus and A. fabalis. Race serrirostris was long attributed to Swinhoe, 1871, but this is pre-dated by Gould’s 1852 description#R. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. f. fabalis (Latham, 1787) – Taiga Bean Goose – taiga from Scandinavia E to Ural Mts; winters W, C & SE Europe and extreme SW Asia.
  • A. f. johanseni Delacour, 1951 – taiga and wooded tundra from Ural Mts E to L Baikal; winters Turkmenistan and Iran E to W China.
  • A. f. middendorffii Severtsov, 1873 – taiga of E Siberia E of L Baikal; winters E China to Japan.
  • A. f. rossicus Buturlin, 1933 – tundra of N Russia and NW Siberia from Kanin Peninsula E to Taymyr Peninsula; winters W & C Europe and SW Asia.
  • A. f. serrirostris Gould, 1852 – Tundra Bean Goose – tundra of NE Siberia from Lena Delta E to Anadyrland; winters E China, Korea and Japan.
  • Descriptive notes

    66–89 cm; male 2690–4060 g, female 2220–3470 g (nominate fabalis), male 1970–3390 g, female 2000–2800 g (rossicus); wingspan... read more


    Considered to be less noisy than most other grey geese; flight and contact calls “hank-hunk” or “... read more


    Breeds on lakes, pools and rivers in high Arctic or taiga zone, according to subspecies; for... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly vegetarian; herbs, grasses and sedges; also berries during breeding season and grain (corn), beans, carrots and potatoes in winter;... read more


    Starts May/Jun (taiga forms usually arrive in breeding areas at end of Apr, but tundra forms may not arrive until late May, and laying may... read more


    Migratory, winters mostly on coastal plains in NW & C Europe and E Asia. Birds initially gather... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and numerous, with increase registered in Europe at end of last century, apparently linked to favourable agricultural... read more

    Recommended citation

    Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Bean Goose (Anser fabalis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 5 April 2020).