Migratory mountain goose belongs to the duck family. The numerical amount of this species has been significantly reduced recently; in some places, for example, in certain areas of the Pamir and Tien Shan, it has completely disappeared.
In the mountain goose, the main color of the plumage on the body is gray. The feathers on his head and side of his neck are painted white. Its light color and white head allow you to notice a bird in flight at a fairly large distance from the ground. Among the distinguishing features by which the goose can be recognized in the photo, two black stripes passing along the crown of the head and at the back of the head are distinguished. Goose paws are tall and painted yellow. The beak of the same shade.
Mountain geese grow in length in the range from 0.7 to 0.75 m, gaining in the growth process weight of 2.0-3.2 kg. Young growth can weigh from 200 g to 1 kg. The wing length is 0.4-0.5 m.
The color of the plumage depends on how old the bird is:
- in newborn chicks, the down jacket is bright straw yellow with a dark mark on the crown, the scapular part is olive, as the birds grow, they change color and become brown on the back,
- the young growth is monotonous, the feather is gray, without characteristic black stripes, only the frontal part, the head on the sides, the neck and upper cervical part are white, after the second change of feather the young stripes begin to appear dark stripes, they get their final appearance after the third change of plumage,
- adult females and males, as a general rule, are brownish-gray with a white head and neck, plumage on their backs with an ash tint and diluted with dark wavy stripes.
Geography of residence and relocation
Nesting and migratory Nagorno-Asian breed can most often be found on lakes located in the highlands of the central Tien Shan. It lives on the water bodies of the Pamirs, in Altai there is an extreme northwestern habitat. The northern border of residence passes through Mongolia. Mountain goose lives in Tuva.
During the winter, mountain geese move closer to the Indian shores, settling in lowlands and wetlands. They can nest in Pakistan and large Burmese rivers.
In large numbers of birds can be found only in Tibet. The mountain goose is listed in the Red Book of Russia as an endangered species. The number of representatives of this species nesting in the Russian regions totals no more than 1500 individuals.
A small population of geese was recorded in the northern European part. You can meet birds in Russia. On the territory of our country they are found in the valleys of the Tuvan rivers, they were seen on Lake Teletskoye, on the banks of the Abakan River. Some representatives of the breed live on the Taimyr Peninsula, some individuals are recorded on the Krasnoyarsk reservoirs, as well as on the territory of the Far East.
Scientists noted that the spring and autumn movements of mountain geese do not coincide.
After wintering, mountain geese return from March to early April. Autumn migration in birds living in the northern regions begins early, back in August. Southern residents leave their nesting sites in September-October.
For habitats, mountain geese choose a mountainous landscape. These can be rivers and lakes, swamps and river sources located nearby with cliffs and high-mountain cliffs high above sea level. In the conditions of the plateau, they can settle in salt bodies of water with trees and shrubs growing along their banks.
Unique flying abilities
Specialists know the mountain representative by its high flight. This is one of the highest birds flying up. Scientists recorded a height of 10.175 thousand meters, to which they climbed, moving from the Central Asian continent over the Himalayas. And this despite the fact that the air discharged at such an altitude does not make it possible to fly even helicopter equipment.
In their ability to be understood at airy heights, mountain geese lose only to vultures, which can fly at an altitude of 12.150 thousand meters.
The mountain goose spends a high flight, holding in the form of an angle, diagonally or as two converging straight lines. During the flight, the leading individual changes from the next every next 5 minutes.
When lowering to the water surface, mountain geese initially spin, and then fall, turning over in the air.
Behavioral traits and nutrition
Being the owner of rather long paws, the mountain goose moves awkwardly on them, however, in case of danger, it is able to run fast, while helping to move with the help of wings.
The voice of a mountain goose has a low timbre, not like the sounds made by an ordinary gray goose. At the same time, the voice of the birds is heard far beyond their location. They often manage to be heard much earlier than to be seen.
For mountain geese, a land-based way of life is preferable, because they try to spend more time on the earth's surface, but they are also no less comfortable able to feel in the water.
Mountain birds have a sociable and curious character.
Feeling safe, mountain geese often find themselves too close to places of human settlement in search of food, leading mainly a daily lifestyle. In places where they are trying to hunt for them, they become wary, and when they sense danger, they begin to incline toward a nocturnal lifestyle, stopping to rest in places inaccessible to people.
At mountain geese, scientists noted a special attention to each other. If one of the flocks is wounded, they will necessarily return and take the feeble bird with them.
During the plumage change and for feeding, mountain geese can go to inaccessible shallows, but when young animals become young, birds again move to the slums, gathering in a flock, choosing to feed at night.
Mountain geese do not have commercial value, being only a subject for hunting, which has recently been banned in many areas due to the disappearance of this species of birds. Due to their non-aggressive nature, they are easily tamed by humans and can live in captivity at home in areas with highlands.
Among the main food that the mountain goose feeds on, ground vegetation stands out: its birds can independently hunt on the shores of water bodies. Most of the feed ration is occupied by cereals, sedge meadow grass, legumes. At wintering grounds, mountain geese feed mainly on cereals. On the coastal strip of the coast, birds seek algae and crustaceans.
Returning after wintering, the birds keep in small flocks of 20 individuals, building a nest with colonies of 3-7 close to each other. They build nests on rocky surfaces or in the crown of trees at a height of 4 to 6 m, the banks of water bodies and wetlands. Oviposition of a mountain goose has 4-6 frosted white eggs.