The swan goose

Writer: Isaac Cohen  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily

A swan goose raised in captivity is seen in Bao’an District. Photos by Issac Cohen

The swan goose

The swan goose (Anser cygnoides) is a large goose with a natural breeding range in Inner Mongolia, northernmost China, and the Russian Far East. Still, it has been introduced to other regions as a domestic animal, including the rural areas of Shenzhen.


This fascinating bird belongs to the family of ducks and swans. With a large body and long neck, these birds in the wild are about 90 centimeters long and weigh about 3 kilograms or more.


Swan geese raised in captivity is seen in Bao’an District.

Its head and neck are brown on top and back and whitish on the lower parts. Its beak is black and very broad, with a prominent protuberance on the base; in some individuals, a white line separates the beak from the face. Their body is grayish-brown, with a white belly and under tail coverts. Their legs and feet are orange.


The swan goose is an herbivore, feeding on various plants, including grasses, sedges, and aquatic vegetation. However, it also feeds on insects and other small invertebrates during the breeding season.


Swan geese raised in captivity are seen in Bao’an District.

Their breeding season occurs in the spring, with females laying up to six eggs per clutch in a nest on the ground; both parents will take turns to incubate the eggs, which hatch after about a month. The baby swan geese will be ready to go on their own very soon after hatching.


The swan goose plays an essential role in its ecosystem as a seed disperser, helping to spread the seeds of the plants it feeds on. As a prey species, it provides food for larger predators such as foxes and eagles. The swan goose is also an important game bird and is raised for food in some areas, as is the case in our city.