The Cape Barren Goose breeds on islands in Bass Strait Tasmania, as well as some islands in South Australia and Western Australia. In spring and summer large flocks disperse onto the mainland where they feed on grasslands and irrigated pastures.
While the total population is possibly no more than ten thousand, they can be locally present in large loose flocks. For example, about a twenty minute drive south of where I live I have seen a flock of about 500 feeding in one irrigated paddock. Only a few days ago I saw about 50 in the same area.
The bird shown in the photo above is of a captive bird at the Adelaide Zoo.
The Cape Barren Goose is locally abundant in its range but it has quite a limited range. Total numbers of this species would have to be about 10,000 so, although not endangered, it could be regarded as vulnerable.
This goose is found in coastal areas of South Australia, Victoria and in Tasmania. It breeds on the islands of Bass Strait between Victoria and Tasmania. There is an isolated population at Esperance in Western Australia.
During spring and summer it disperses to the mainland to feed on cultivated pastures, near wetlands and in grasslands. About a twenty minute drive south of where I live there are several large dairies. These have irrigated pastures (mainly clover and lucerne) which attract this species in large numbers. I’ve counted over 500 on several occasions.
The photo below was taken of a captive bird at the Cleland Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia.
This article was updated in August 2015.