The length ranges from 68 to 90 centimetres (27-35 in), wingspan from 140 to 174 centimetres (55-69 in) and weight from 1.7-4 kilograms (3.7-8.8 lb). In the nominate subspecies, males average 3.2 kg (7.1 lb) and females average 2.84 kg (6.3 lb). The bill is black at the base and tip, with an orange band across the middle; the legs and feet are also bright orange. The upper wing-coverts are dark brown, as in the White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) and the Lesser White-fronted Goose (A. erythropus), but differing from these in having narrow white fringes to the feathers.

Habitat and Distribution

Breeds in northern Europe and Asia and is highly migratory. It winters in the temperate and subtropical regions.


The bean goose is a herbivore mainly eating grasses, berries, herbs and crops like beans (hence the name) potatoes and cereals.


Nests as individual pairs in May near water bodies.

Calls and Songs

The voice is a loud honking, higher pitched in the smaller subspecies.