Barnacle Goose

Barnacle Goose at Wingham Wildlife Park

Barnacle Goose Natural History


This bird reaches a length of around 64 cm, and has a wingspan of almost 140cm.

Habitat and Distribution

The breeding areas of these birds are all on arctic islands of the North Atlantic. Over the winter they will emigrate to Ireland, the Scottish / English border and the Netherlands.


The average age of this bird is 12 years, however the longest living individual ever recorded was 26 years and 8 months old at the time of its death.


The diet of this bird mainly revolves around grasses but they will also eat other shoots and leaves.

Groups and Breeding

The females lay 4 to 5 eggs which they will incubate in the nest for 25 days. Once hatched the young will be fully fledged at 45 days. The nest sites are often high on Mountains and cliffs.


This bird has few threats especially in its breeding range which is unlikely to become spoiled by humans to the point where it can no longer be of use for them.

Interesting facts

It used to be believed that this species grew out of goose barnacles on driftwood, because no one ever saw them nesting (because they nest in the arctic).

The Geese During Your Day Out in Kent

The barnacle geese are amongst a number of different species of water fowl (as well as storks, cranes and a number of carp varieties – including some very large individuals) living on the 1 acre lake at the top of the park (near the tapir and big cat enclosures) – can you spot them?  Many of our goose species often huddle up together, and during various feed times they can often be seen congregating near the coati and raccoon exhibit, where they are fed a varied diet of grains.