Cape Barren Goose

Scientific Name: Cereopsis novaehollandiae

Did You Know?

Cape Barren geese were once thought to be the immature phase of the native black swan. They were hunted for food almost to extinction last century but through protection and increasing feeding areas the numbers have risen rapidly.

The Cape Barren goose is a large robust bird with a length from bill to tail of 75-100cm. Its plumage is pale grey with black markings near the tips of its wing feathers and tail. It has pink legs and black feet. It has a bright greenish-yellow cere (the area around the nostrils at the base of the bill) on its short black bill, which is quite striking.


The Cape Barren goose is usually found in small flocks on offshore islands and coasts but may visit pasture further inland in great numbers.


Cape Barren geese feed mainly on grasses and herbs, often grazing in open farm paddocks. The clearance of bush for pasture development has assisted this goose with finding food and numbers have increased markedly in recent times.


The breeding season for the Cape Barren goose is from May to September and the female lays four to seven creamy white eggs. The nest is constructed of grasses and plant matter and is beautifully lined with soft down feathers. The chicks hatch after six weeks of incubation and are covered in black and white striped down feathers.


During the breeding season, these geese can be extremely aggressive and will have no hesitation in chasing intruders including foxes, dogs and even humans!