Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae)


French: Céréopse cendré German: Hühnergans Spanish: Ganso cenizo

Cereopsis N. Hollandiae


, 1801,

New South Wales = islands of Bass Strait


W race grisea sometimes regarded as of doubtful validity, but appears to merit recognition. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. n. grisea (Vieillot, 1818) – islands off SW Australia, including Recherche Archipelago, and adjacent mainland of Western Australia.
  • C. n. novaehollandiae Latham, 1801 – SE Australia (coast of E South Australia E to E Victoria), islands in Bass Strait (Furneaux Group) and Tasmania.
  • Introduced to several localities of S Australia, and to South I (New Zealand).

    Descriptive notes

    75–100 cm; male 3170–5100 g, female 3180 g. Unmistakable Bird swimming. Juvenile averages slightly lighter with heavier spotting on wings and scapulars; cere... read more


    Low, pig-like grunts and hisses are produced by both sexes, but only male gives loud, higher-... read more


    Breeds in scrub and grassy areas on offshore islands of limestone and granite, with vegetation... read more

    Food and feeding

    Essentially vegetarian; leaves, stems and seeds of grasses (tussock), sedges, cereal crops and other plants with high water and nitrogen... read more


    In winter, starts May/Jun (perhaps slightly later on Recherche Is), although territories are occupied from Feb and season continues until... read more


    Partially dispersive after breeding season, with some remaining on nesting islands but others... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population reckoned to be c. 15,000–17,000 birds in 1980s, more recently (late 1990s) c. 20,000 individuals; apparently... read more

    Recommended citation

    Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae). 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 15 December 2019).