12 Geese In British Columbia (Photo And ID Guide)

This handbook will teach you what sorts of geese seen in British Columbia are and how to recognize them using pictures and detailed identification guides, as well as when you’re most likely to see them.

British Columbia has been home to twelve of the thirteen species of geese found in North America. Yet, here, there are only half as many common or accidental species. Geese are most often seen throughout the winter or during migration.

A gaggle is a flock of geese. Have you heard of geese being given such names as shien, wedge, and plump?

Or that their territorial behavior and loud honking have been used for centuries to protect pets, people, and even countries!

In the United States, it is unlawful to damage geese, their eggs, or their nests without permission from the federal government. The USFWS is in charge of fish and wildlife.

12 Types Of Geese In British Columbia:


1. Canada Goose

In British Columbia, Canada Geese are ubiquitous and can be seen all year. These are seen in 22% of bird watcher checklists for the province during the summer and 25% during the winter.

The Canada Goose is a big, long-necked goose with a black head and a white chin strap that is readily recognized. It is also known as the Canadian goose.

Canada Geese have the same black head and white chin strap as Cackling Geese, but their long, graceful neck and huge size differentiate them from Cackling Geese.

Their chests, legs, and rump are tan or pale in color. The bodies of the subspecies may be gray or brown in color. They have black legs and webbed feet.

  • Branta canadensis
  • Length: 25 – 45 in (64 – 114 cm)
  • Weight: 230.09 oz (6521 g)
  • Wingspan: 70 – 75 in (178 – 190 cm)

Canada Geese breed in Canada and migrate to southern US states during the winter, but those in northern US states stay throughout the year and do not migrate. Western Europe is also home to these animals.

Canada Geese may be found in practically everyplace. They’re commonly seen near lakes and rivers, in general, wherever there’s a body of water and plenty of food. They also thrive in urban environments such as city parks, reservoirs, golf courses, public parks, and beaches since they are used to humans.

They’ve become pests in certain areas since their population has grown significantly.

While on land, Canada Geese eat grasses, tiny aquatic insects, and little fish. On the water, they eat grasses as well as little fish. While on agricultural fields, they also eat wheat, rice, and corn. Humans provide them with food, and they dig through trash cans as a normal routine.

Canada Geese nests are frequently found near water, in an elevated area. In a nest made of plant material and down, the female deposits up to nine eggs. For about a month, she incubates the eggs while the male protects them from predators.

Their parents take them to a meal source when they are hatched, and they learn how to eat there. When parents perceive a threat or danger to their family, they are extremely territorial and violent.

Fun Fact: Adults lose their flight feathers during the breeding season, since it corresponds with the molting season for birds. Just in time for them to fly with their young, they only regain their feathers after twenty to forty days.

2. Snow Goose

Snow Geese are seen in 2% of winter checklists in British Columbia from October to March. Although, they may be found all year in the province.

Except for its black wingtips, pink beak with a black grin patch, and pink legs and feet, the Snow Goose is appropriately named.

The Blue Goose, a white-headed variant with a dark blue-gray body, is another color variation of this species. Due to their feeding, both variants of the Snow Geese may have a “stained” head at times.

Both variants have similar sexes, but they may vary in size. Males have a tendency to be bigger than females.

Dusky gray-brown juvenile white morphs and dark gray juvenile blue morphs may be found. They, on the other hand, both have the pink beak and black grin patch.

  • Anser caerulescens
  • Length: 25 – 31 in (64 – 79 cm)
  • Weight: 81.13 oz (2299 g)
  • Wingspan: 54.3 in (138 cm)

Snow Geese migrate between Canada and the United States throughout the winter.

In freshwater marshes and agricultural grain fields, you may see Snow Geese and Blue Geese together. They prefer salt marshes and coastal bays in the winter, but they’ll visit plowed fields or wetlands as well.

Snow geese are omnivores who eat a lot. Water-logged soil or shallow water are frequently eaten by them. Grasses, sedges, willows, rushes, and horsetails are among the plants they love best. Seeds, grains, and plants that have been ripped up by their roots will also be consumed.

On tundra, large colonies of Snow Geese nests are common. Since females return to the location where they hatched to breed, they construct a nest, which is normally a shallow depression on the ground that may be reused many times.

She lines the nest with grasses and down after she has deposited the first three to five eggs. Goslings take around twenty-four days to hatch, and they are able to survive on their own after that.

Fun Fact: When Snow Geese breed, they pick the same color morph as themselves and will mate for life.

3. Cackling Goose

From October through May, Cackling Geese may be seen in the south of British Columbia, where they spend the winter. In winter checklists, they appear in 2% of the time.

Canada Geese look a lot like Cackling Geese, which are endemic to North America. They were established as a separate species in 2004 after being classified as part of the Canada Goose family.

The heads and necks of Cackling Geese are black, with a white “chinstrap.” They have triangular black bills. They have white on the outside and are light brown or tan in color.

Cackling Geese, on the other hand, have stubbier bills, steeper foreheads, and shorter necks than Canada Geese.

The white chinstrap subspecies is one of four subspecies with distinctive black heads and necks, however they vary in size and color.

  • Branta hutchinsii
  • Length: 22 – 30 in (56 – 76 cm)
  • Weight: 105.9 oz (3001 g)
  • Wingspan: 43 – 47 in (109 – 119 cm)

Cackling Geese move to the United States for the winter and breed in Canada and Alaska.

Year-round, Cackling Geese may be seen in wetlands and meadows. In winter, they join flocks and mingle with other geese in lakes, marshes, and fields, but in the summer, they prefer to dwell on the tundra.

Cackling Geese graze on grasses and feed on sedges and berries in open areas while foraging. In agricultural fields, they will also devour crops such as wheat, barley, beans, rice, and corn. They eat aquatic plants in the water.

Cackling goose nests may be found singly or in groups. They’re normally found near the water in a shallow depression, but on an elevated area. The nests are made of plant materials and down by the females. She will incubate up to eight eggs in it for around a month, placing them between August and September.

Fun Fact: The “cackling” voice or high-pitched cry of Cackling Geese is different from that of Canada Geese.

4. Brant

From November to mid-May, Brant Geese can be found in the south of British Columbia, mainly during the winter. On 1% of winter checklists, they are found.

A black head, neck, and chest, a white collar or marking on the neck, and a white rump distinguish the Brant Goose from other geese. Nonetheless, several subspecies exist, the majority of which have lighter or darker coloring.

  • Branta bernicla
  • Length: 22 – 26 in (56 – 66 cm)
  • Weight: 63.84 oz (1809 g)
  • Wingspan: 43 – 48 in (109 – 122 cm)

Before going to coastal regions of the United States and Mexico, Brant Geese breed in Canada and Alaska. In addition, they reside in Europe.

During the breeding season, Brant Geese may be found in tundra, marshes, islands, and coastal regions. Salt marshes, lagoons, mudflats, and tidal estuaries are their habitats during the winter.

Both on land and in water, Brant geese eat mostly plant material. Eelgrass is their favorite grass, but they’ll eat any. Sedges, pondweed, and aquatic insects are also among the foods they eat.

Little islands in tundra ponds or atop high hills are common places for Brant Geese nests. They’re down-lined shallow bowls made of grass.

For three to four weeks, the female lays up to seven eggs that incubate. The parents bring the young to the feeding location after the eggs have hatched, so they may feed themselves.

Fun Fact: Brant Geese have a lifespan of up to 28 years.

5. Greater White-fronted Goose

During winter in British Columbia, Greater White-fronted Geese are commonly seen, but from April to May and September to November, their numbers rise.

During migrations, they appear in 3% of checklists. Nonetheless, they may be found here year-round.

In Europe and North America, the Greater White-fronted Goose is referred to as simply White-fronted Goose.

Greater White-fronted Geese are both large geese, and males and femen appear similar.

They are commonly mistaken for the Graylag Goose because of their barred feathers, which are mostly gray all-over. The “white front,” or the white feathers around the base of its orange beak, is what distinguishes them. On their underparts, they have black flecks as well.

  • Anser albifrons
  • Length: 26 – 34 in (66 -86 cm)
  • Weight: 126.98 oz (3599 g)
  • Wingspan: 53 – 60 in (135 – 152 cm)

Greater White-fronted Geese breed mostly in Canada and travel to the United States and Mexico for the winter in North America. They may be found in Europe and east Asia, though.

Greater White-fronted Geese breed in Canada’s west, and during the winter, they spend time in the United States’ west coast, Gulf Coast, and Mexico.

During the breeding season, Greater White-fronted Geese may be found in marshy tundra, wetlands, rivers, and ponds. They shelter in agricultural fields, marshes, bays, and lakes throughout the winter.

Greater White-fronted Geese feed on both land and water. They eat agricultural fields’ crops, such as seeds and grains. Grasses and berries are among the foods they consume. They forage for aquatic insects and mollusks when they’re near water.

In shallow depressions in the tundra, Greater White-fronted Goose nests can be found. They typically hold three to six eggs and are lined with grass and down. Over two to three weeks, the female incubates them.

Fun Fact: Long-term family ties exist among Greater White-fronted Geese. The young stay with their parents until the following breeding season, even if they migrate together with their offspring.

6. Ross’s Goose

Throughout migration, Ross’ geese can be found in British Columbia, mostly in the south of the province. However, they are not particularly frequent.

Ross’s Snow Geese, who they frequently flock with, are quite similar to his Geese. Their small, gray-based red-orange beaks, pink-red legs and feet, and black wingtips are the only exception to their white coloration. The female is somewhat smaller than the male, both in terms of body and personality.

Ross’ Goose has a dark phase variant, although it’s uncommon. The bill is brownish with a crimson patch, the neck and underparts are dark gray, and the back is white.

  • Anser rossii
  • Length: 21 – 26 in (53 – 66 cm)
  • Weight: 59.2 oz (1678 g)
  • Wingspan: 47 – 54 in (119 – 137 cm)

In northern Canada, Ross’ geese graze and spend the winter in the United States.

During the winter, Ross’ Geese may be found in both salt and freshwater marshes. They’ll breed on the Arctic Tundra during the breeding season.

Ross’ Geese nests are found on lake islands and arctic tundra, in colonies. Females create nests out of grasses, moss, leaves, and twigs lined with down on the ground. Each breeding female incubates four to five eggs for three weeks while she lays them.

Fun Fact: North America’s smallest geese are Ross’ geese.

7. Pink-footed Goose

In British Columbia, Pink-footed Geese are a uncommon or rare species that have only been observed in 2017 in the south of Vancouver Island.

The Pink-footed Goose, also known as the “pinkfoot,” has pink feet and legs, therefore it is frequently mistaken with its close relatives, the Taiga and Tundra Bean Geese. Although they seem similar,

They have dark-brown rumps, breasts, bellies with a barring pattern, and pink legs and feet. Their heads are brown, their bills are short and black with a pink band in the middle, and their backs and wings are blue-gray.

Infants are dark brown with a more prominent scaled design on their sides, flanks, and backs. Males and females appear identical, although juveniles are light brown.

  • Anser brachyrhynchus
  • Length: 26 in (66 cm)
  • Weight: 97.6 0z (2766 g)
  • Wingspan: 53 – 67 in (135 – 170 cm)

Eastern Canada and northern US states are home to Pink-footed Geese throughout the winter. Greenland and Europe, on the other hand, are home to the majority of them.

Open tundra, enormous estuaries, agricultural farmlands, and rocky outcrops and crags are all good places to see Pink-footed Geese.

In the summer, Pink-footed Geese consume a wide range of tundra plants, whether on land or in water, and in the winter, they consume mostly grains, sugar beets, and potatoes from agricultural fields.

Pink-footed Geese nests are often found on cliffs near glaciers and on islets in lakes. They need a secure nesting habitat to keep them safe from predators. Simple, shallow scrapes in the earth lined with moss and down are used as nests.

The female devotes approximately four weeks to incubating three to five eggs. The baby goslings accompany their parents to the nearest lake for food once the eggs hatch.

Fun Fact: Pink-footed Geese, despite the fact that they may devour huge swaths of sugar beet and potato leaves and roots after harvest, aid farmers by eating the leaves and roots of these crops. Crop diseases are less likely to be transmitted as a result.

8. Emperor Goose

In British Columbia, Emperor Geese are a near-threatened species, while in the province, they are an accidental species. In 2009, they were last seen in Richmond.

Because of their preference for coastal environments, Emperor Geese are often referred to as Beach Geese. Because of their lovely feathers, they are sometimes referred to as Painted Geese.

Emperor Geese of both sexes have the same appearance. They feature pink bills, black chins, and throats, blue-gray bodies with scalloped patterns, yellow-orange legs, and white tails. They both have pure white heads and napes (the back of the neck).

During the summer, when Emperor Geese feed in tidal pools containing iron oxide, their heads turn reddish-brown or orange.

The coloring of juveniles is duller. The heads and necks of these animals are dark. Their legs are browner in hue than their bills, which are grayish-black.

  • Anser canagicus
  • Length: 26 – 28 in (66 – 71 cm)
  • Weight: 110.37 oz (3128 g)
  • Wingspan: 48 – 56 in (122 – 142 cm)

Emperor Geese breed in the north, near the Bering Sea, in the arctic and sub-arctic throughout the winter.

Throughout the summer, you may spot the Emperor Goose in freshwater tidal ponds, inland lakes, and coastal lagoons. Mudflats, rocky coasts, and coastal tundra are where they spend the winter.

Emperor Goose diets vary depending on the area and season. They feed entirely on land during the breeding and nesting season, eating grasses, sedges, berries, roots, and bulbs.

They stampede mudflats during the winter, looking for clams by “puddling.” Crustaceans, bivalve mollusks, barnacles, eelgrass, and sea lettuce are among the foods they eat while on or near water.

Emperor Goose nests are usually found among the marshes, in shallow depressions in the ground. The female lays around four to six eggs in the nests, which she lines with leaves and her own feathers.

However, in other Emperor Geese nests, she may lay up to eight more eggs…gutsy!

The female incubates for twenty-four days. After several hours, goslings are able to walk, swim, and feed themselves.

Fun Fact: The adult white crown and nape of the Emperor Goose resemble ermine trim on a royal cloak, giving it its name.

9. Taiga Bean-Goose

In British Columbia, Taiga Bean-Geese are considered an accidental species, and they have not been seen here for a long time, according to records.

The American Ornithological Society recognizes the Taiga Bean-Goose and Tundra Bean-Goose as distinct species, although other groups treat them as a single species. They are known collectively as bean goose.

Dark brown heads and necks, black bills with a yellow-orange band, dark brown throats with gray streaks, and a scaled pattern cover the entire body of Taiga Bean-Geese.

The Tundra Bean Goose has a shorter beak with a smaller orange band on the bill, whereas the Taiga Bean Goose has a longer beak with a broader orange mark.

  • Anser fabalis
  • Length: 30 – 35 in (76 – 89 cm)
  • Weight: 113.6 oz (3219 g)
  • Wingspan: 53 – 64 in (135 – 163 cm)

In Europe, but not in North America, Taiga Bean Geese are most common.

Taiga (swampy, coniferous woods), tundra, wet grasslands, and flooded fields are all places where you may find Taiga Bean-Geese.

Grasses, roots, tubers, seeds, fruits, and flowers make up the Taiga Bean-Geese’s natural diet. Agricultural areas will feed on cereal grains and other available crops if there are any nearby.

Taiga Bean-Geese nests are often discovered near water on grassy hummocks. These nests are usually found at the foot of shrubs or trees. Grasses, mosses, and other plants are used to construct the nests, which are then lined with down. The female incubates the eggs for four weeks, which she lays in a clutch of four to five.

Fun Fact: Anser, which means goose, and fabalis, which means large bean, are the names of the Taiga Bean-Goose. Throughout the winter, it had a tendency to graze and forage in bean fields.

10. Graylag Goose

In British Columbia, Graylag Geese are an accidental species, having only been discovered in Sardis Park in 2010.

Most domestic goose breeds are thought to descended from the Graylag Goose (Greylag Goose). Their bills are pinkish-orange, with a white tip at the end, and their legs are dull pink. They’re mostly dark gray throughout.

Females are somewhat smaller than males, but both sexes appear similar.

  • Anser anser
  • Length: 34 in (86.36 cm)
  • Weight: 76 oz (2154 g)
  • Wingspan: 66 in (167.6 cm)

Domesticated geese are frequently found in North America, and Graylag Geese may be too big to fly. Since they are originally from Europe, wild ones are scarce to come by.

During the breeding season, Graylag Geese may be found in marshes, lakes, and reservoirs. They like to live among reeds, rushes, and shrubs in areas with thick ground cover. They can be found on saltwater marshes, bogs, and even agricultural land throughout the winter.

Both land and water are eaten by Greylag Geese. They feed on the grass with sheep and cows on land, where they graze in pastures. Cereals, such as oats, wheat, and barley, that they find in agricultural fields and farmlands are also eaten by them.

Graylag Geese eat aquatic vegetation and creatures like tiny fish, amphibians, crustaceans, mollusks, and insects when they are near or on water.

Graylag Goose nests are most often discovered in the midst of tall reeds or shrubs on the ground. The female normally lays four to six eggs, with the final egg being placed in the incubator. For around a week, the female will sit on the eggs while the male protects the area.

Fun Fact: Graylag Goose feathers were utilized to fletch arrows and were utilized as quill pens.

11. Egyptian Goose

In British Columbia, Egyptian Geese are virtually extinct, having last been seen near Sardis Park in 2006.

The Egyptian Goose is a decorative bird that has become invasive in some countries due to its popularity in zoos and aviaries.

Egyptian geese have a lot of characteristics that set them apart from other geese. A brown patch surrounds their golden-yellow or orange eyes. Their bills are pink on top and black on the bottom, and their heads are whitish-gray with reddish tints at the nape.

Their collar is crimson-brown in color. Their backs and wings are a mix of white, green, brown, and black. Their breasts are tan, and their bellies are white with gray linings. Pink legs and feet adorn these creatures.

The head and nape of juveniles are a deeper reddish-brown. Their bellies are usually brown or tan in color. Dark brown is their coloration on the back and wings.

  • Alopochen aegyptiaca
  • Length: 24 – 29 in (61 – 74 cm)
  • Weight: 70 – 77.5 oz (1984 – 2196 g)
  • Wingspan: 52 – 60 in (132 – 152 cm)

Escaped Egyptian geese have a presence in Europe and North America, despite their African origin.

Egyptian Goose may be found near water in open, wetlands, and non-forested areas. Zoos and aviaries are also common places for them to be kept.

Seeds, leaves, grasses, and plant stems are all favorites of Egyptian geese. Algae and aquatic plants, as well as insects and tiny animals, will be eaten by them.

The ground and in hollows of trees, caves, and other animals’ nests are home to Egyptian Goose nests. The nests, which have a capacity of twenty-two eggs and take around a month to hatch, are mostly made of grasses, leaves, and down.

The young must learn how to feed themselves, but their parents will care for them.

Fun Fact: In Ancient Egypt, the Egyptian Goose was considered a holy bird, and it appears in a lot of their art.

12. Barnacle Goose

In British Columbia, Barnacle Geese are an accidental species. They’ve been missing in the province for a long time and haven’t been seen in a long time.

The medium-sized yet delicate-looking Barnacle Goose is a popular species. Their heads, throats, and upper chest are black, and their bellies are white. Their faces are white, with black and white bars on their wings and back.

The medium-sized yet delicate-looking Barnacle Goose is a geese species. Their bills are short and black, with a white head, neck, upper chest, and belly. Their wings and back are silver-gray with black and white stripes.

The v-shaped rump and silver-gray lining are readily visible while in flight.

  • Branta leucopsis
  • Length: 23 – 28 in (58 – 71 cm)
  • Weight: 62.4 oz (1768 g)
  • Wingspan: 52 – 56 in (132 – 142 cm)

The North Atlantic is home to Barnacle Geese, who breed and migrate throughout the year.

Salt marshes, grassy fields, pastureland, and agricultural fields are all good places to look for Barnacle Geese. They usually live on islets, islands, and near-shore cliff ledges during the breeding season.

Grass is the main food of Barnacle Geese, which may be found in tundra, near water, and on farms. When near water and crops and grains in fields, they will also feed on aquatic vegetation and insects.

To protect the eggs from predators, Barnacle Goose nests are frequently built on cliff ledges. The nest is lined with soft down feathers and built by the female using mud and dead foliage.

The female sits on five eggs for twenty-five days while they are incubated. The young are taken to marshes with abundant vegetation when the eggs hatch, so they may eat for themselves. After roughly 45 days, they fledged.

Fun Fact: The name Barnacle Goose comes from a Medieval Legend that claims they were brought from Barnacles.

Leave a Comment