Papers in the Biological Sciences


Tribe Anserini (Swans and True Geese)

Document Type Article

From Handbook of Waterfowl Behavior by Paul A. Johnsgard. Copyright © 1965 Cornell University Press; electronic edition copyright © 2008 Paul A. Johnsgard.


The swans and true geese of the present tribe include about 21 species which are primarily temperate and arctic in distribution, with most forms occurring in the Northern Hemisphere. They are generally large grazing or dabbling birds, and all are highly social and have strong family bonds. Plumage patterns are the same in both sexes and tend to be relatively simple, with visual signal characteristics generally restricted to the bill, head, and rump. For the most part the species are very vocal, and in the true geese vocalizations probably reach the highest degree of development in the entire family.