13 Types Of Geese In Canada (Photo And ID Guide)

This guide will teach you what to look for when seeing geese in Canada, as well as some interesting facts and helpful images. It will aid you identify the sort of geese that may be seen in Canada.

Canada has been home to all of North America’s thirteen species of geese. However, here, there are about half of them that are uncommon or accidental. During migration, you have the best opportunity to detect geese.

A gaggle is a collection of geese. Yet haven’t heard of geese being given such names as shien, wedge, and plump?

Or maybe because of their territorial demeanor and loud honking, they’ve been employed as pets’ guards for centuries!

In the United States, it is illegal to harm geese, their eggs, or their nests without permission from the U.S. migratory bird treaty. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

You might learn more about ducks in Canada or swans in Canada if you like seeing waterbirds in Canada.

13 Types Of Geese In Canada:


1. Canada Goose

In Canada, Canada geese are ubiquitous and can be seen at any time of year. They appear on 27% of summer bird watcher checklists and 15% of winter bird watcher checklists in the United States.

The Canada Goose, often known as the Canadian goose, is a huge, long-necked goose with a prominent black head and a conspicuous white chinstrap.

The Canadian Geese have the same black head and white chin strap as Cackling Geese, but their long, graceful neck and large size differentiate them.

They have a brown skin with a pale chest and white rump. The bodies of the subspecies may be gray or brown in color, depending on the subspecies. Black webbed feet and legs distinguish them.

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

Canada Geese are a Canadian goose breed that migrates for the winter to southern US states, but they remain in Canada all year and do not migrate. Western Europe is also home to them.

Canada Geese are very common. They are often seen near lakes and rivers, especially in areas with abundant food sources. They also live peacefully in metropolitan habitats like city parks, reservoirs, golf courses, public parks, and beaches since they are used to humans.

Their population has grown significantly in certain areas, and they’re considered pests.

When on land, Canada Geese eat grasses; while on the water, they eat small aquatic insects and fish. While on agricultural fields, they will also eat wheat, rice, and corn. Humans feeding them or rummaging through trash bins are normal for them.

Canada Geese nests are usually located near water on elevated ground. In a nest of plant material and down, the female lays up to nine eggs. For about a month, she incubates the eggs while the male stays nearby and protects them.

Their parents take them to a meal source where they can learn to feed themselves once they hatch. When parents sense danger or threats to their family, they become exceedingly territorial and violent.

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

2. Snow Goose

Throughout their migration from March to mid-June and September to December, snow geese may be seen in Canada all year. In the spring, they are seen in 5% of checklists, and in the autumn, they are seen in 7%.

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

Surprisingly, the Blue Goose has a white head and a dark blue-gray body, which is another variation. Due to its diet, both forms of the Snow Geese might have a “dirty” head at times.

Both forms have comparable sexes, yet they may differ in size. Males have a higher average size than females.

Dusky gray-brown pigmentation characterizes juvenile white morphs, while dark gray characterizes juvenile blue morphs. The distinctive pink beak and black grin patch, however, remain unchanged.

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

Snow Geese migrate to the United States during the winter and breed in Canada.

In freshwater marshes and agricultural grain fields, you can find Snow Geese and Blue Geese together. They prefer salt marshes and coastal coves throughout the winter, but they’ll stop by plowed fields or wetlands.

Snow Geese are vegetarians and eaters that are voracious. Water-logged soil or shallow water is often consumed by them. Plant vegetation, such as grasses, sedges, willows, rushes, and horsetails, are their favorite foods. Seeds, grains, and plants that they rip up by their roots will also be consumed by them.

On tundra, Snow Goose nests are frequently found in huge colonies. Because females return to the site where they hatched to breed, they construct a nest, which is usually a shallow depression on the ground that they reuse many times.

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

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

3. Cackling Goose

From October to April, Cackling Geese can be found in Canada, but they may also be seen at any time of year.

Canada Geese are closely related to Cackling Geese, which are indigenous to North America. They were first classified as Canada Goose relatives, but in 2004, they were elevated to species status.

A white “chinstrap” patch distinguishes Cackling Geese from other geese. Their short, black, triangular bills stand out. They have white on all sides, and are light brown or tan in color.

Cackling Geese, on the other hand, are smaller than Canada Geese and have stubbier beaks, higher foreheads, and shorter necks.

All of the subspecies have black heads and necks, with the exception of the white chinstrap, and they vary in size and coloration.

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

Cackling Geese migrate to the United States for the winter after breeding in Canada and Alaska.

Cackling Geese may be seen in wetlands and meadows all year. Throughout the winter, they often mix with other geese in lakes, marshes, and fields, but during the summer, they prefer the tundra.

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

Cackling Goose nests may be found individually or in groups. They’re often found in a shallow depression near the water, although they’re slightly elevated. Females create the nests by weaving plant fibers and down together. She will deposit up to eight eggs, which she will incubate for around a month.

Fun Fact: Cackling Geese are easily recognized from Canada Geese because of their distinct “cackling” voice or high-pitched cry.

4. Brant

Brant Geese are common in Canada from January to mid-June and October to November, despite reports of sightings all year.

A black head, neck, and chest, a white collar or marking on the throat, and a white rump distinguish the Brant Goose from other geese. Nonetheless, there are several subspecies with varying hues of skin.

  • 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 to Europe, they also reside there.

During the breeding season, you may see Brant Geese in tundra, marshlands, islands, and coastal areas. Salt marshes, lagoons, mudflats, and tidal estuaries are all used in the winter.

Both on land and in water, Brant geese feed mostly on plant material. Eelgrass is preferred, but they will eat any grass. Sedges, pondweed, and aquatic insects are also eaten.

Brant Geese nests are frequently found on little islands in tundra lakes or atop elevated terrain. They’re made of downy grasses and are shallow.

Females lay up to seven eggs that spend three to four weeks incubating. The parents escort the juvenile to the eating area after the eggs have hatched, so they may feed themselves.

Fun Fact: The lifespan of Brant geese is up to 28 years.

5. Greater White-fronted Goose

During migration, Greater White-fronted Geese may be seen in Canada from March to May and again from September to November. At these times, they appear on 1% of checklists.

White-fronted Goose or Greater Whitefront is the European and North American names for this species.

Greater White-fronted Geese are both huge geese, with males and femas having similar appearances.

They’re frequently mistaken with the Graylag Goose because their barred feathers are mostly gray all-over. The white front, or the white feathers around the base of its orange beak, distinguishes them from other birds. On their underbelly, 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 in Canada and migrate to the United States and Mexico for the winter in North America. They may, however, be found in Europe and east Asia.

Greater White-fronted Geese live during the winter on the West Coast of the United States, The Gulf Coast, and Mexico. They breed in the west of northern Canada.

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

Both land and water forage for Greater White-fronted Geese. They eat agricultural crops, such as seeds and grains. Grasses and berries are also eaten by them. Aquatic insects and mollusks are foraged for when they’re near water.

In shallow depressions in the tundra, Greater White-fronted Geese nests can be found. They commonly contain 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 next breeding season, even when they migrate together and their offspring do so as well.

6. Ross’s Goose

Throughout the autumn migration, from October to November, Ross’ Geese have sightings across Canada.

Snow Geese, with whom Ross’ geese often congregate, are quite similar. Their small, gray-based red-orange beaks, short and stubby pink-red legs, and black wingtips are the only exceptions to their white coloration. The female is somewhat smaller than the male.

Ross’ Goose has a dark phase variant, although it’s extremely uncommon. It has a brownish beak with a red patch, black gray throats, underparts, and back. It has a white head.

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

Ross’ Geese spend the winter in the United States, where they breed in northern Canada.

During the winter, Ross’ Geese can be found in both salt and freshwater marshes. They’ll nest on the arctic tundra during the breeding season.

The geese that Ross raises are grazing birds that seek grass, sedges, and little grains from marshes, meadows, and fields.

In colonies on lake islands and arctic tundra, Ross’s Geese nests can be found. Females use grasses, moss, leaves, and twigs to line their nests, which are built on the ground. Over three weeks, each breeding female produces four to five eggs and nurtures them.

Fun Fact: The geese of Ross are the tiniest in North America.

7. Pink-footed Goose

In Canada, Pink-footed Geese are a uncommon or accidental species, but they have been seen on a few occasions throughout the year, mainly in Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

The Pink-footed Goose has pink feet and legs, unlike its relatives, the Taiga and Tundra Bean Geese, which have white feet and legs. Although they seem to be comparable,

Their heads are brown, their beaks are black with a pink band in the center, their backs and wings are blue-gray, their throats, breasts, rumps, and legs are light-brown.

Juveniles have a more defined scaled pattern on their sides, flanks, and backs than males and females.

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

Eastern Canada and the northeastern US states are home to Pink-footed Geese throughout the winter. They, on the other hand, are more prevalent in Greenland and Europe.

Open tundra, huge estuaries, agricultural farms and rocky outcrops and crags are all places to find Pink-footed Geese.

Throughout the summer, Pink-footed Geese feed on a broad range of tundra plants, both on land and in water, while in winter they mostly eat grains, sugar beets, and potatoes from agricultural fields.

Pink-footed Geese nests are frequently found on islets in lakes and cliffs near glaciers. To avoid predatory assaults, they must have a secure location for nesting. Simple, shallow scrapes in the ground lined with moss and down are used for nests.

The female incubates three to five eggs for approximately four weeks before she lays them. The juvenile goslings walk with their parents to the closest lake for food after the eggs hatch.

Fun Fact: Pink-footed Geese, despite their large population and tendency to feed on sugar beet and potato leaves and roots after harvest, help farmers by eating the leaves and roots. Crop diseases are less likely to be transmitted this way.

8. Barnacle Goose

In Canada, Barnacle Geese are considered a unique or accidental species, although they may spend the winter in the southeast near Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

Medium-sized yet delicate-looking geese, Barnacle Geese are a common sight. Their bills are small and black, with a white face, black head, neck, and upper chest. Their bellies are white, and their wings and back are silver-gray with black and white stripes.

V-shaped rumps and silver-gray linings may be seen while in the air.

V-shaped rumps and silver-gray linings may be seen 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, which breed and spend the winter in eastern Canada and the US.

Salt marshes, grassy plains, pastureland, and agricultural plains are all habitats for Barnacle Geese. They usually occupy islets, islands, and cliff ledges close to shore during the breeding season.

Whether on tundra, near water, or on farmland, Barnacle Geese primarily eat grass. When near water and crops and grains in fields, they also feed on aquatic vegetation and insects.

To keep the eggs safe from predators, Barnacle Geese 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.

For twenty-five days, the female incubates her five eggs. The larvae are taken to marshes with plenty of greenery where they may feed themselves after the eggs hatch. After around 45 days of care, they fledge.

Fun Fact: Barnacle Goose got their name from a Medieval Myth that tells that they supposedly came from Barnacles.

9. Tundra Bean-Goose

In Canada, Tundra Bean-Geese are an unusual variety that has become accidental. Sightings have been reported in the south of the nation, mostly around Quebec, but there have been a few.

Some authorities consider the Tundra Bean-Goose to be a single species, despite its close relationship to the Taiga Bean-Goose. They are already distinct species, according to the American Ornithological Society and the International Ornithologists’ Union.

A brown head and a black beak with an orange band in the middle distinguish Tundra Bean-Geese. The backs and wings have a dark brown barring pattern, while their throat and flanks have light brown barring. White rumps adorn their bodies. Orange is the color of their legs and feet.

Juniors have a yellow beak, dull orange legs, and unclear barring on the flanks, yet youngsters and adults are similar.

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

  • Anser serrirostris
  • Length: 28 – 33 in (71 – 84 cm)
  • Weight:120 oz (3401 g)
  • Wingspan: 53 – 64 in (135 – 163 cm)

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

Tundra Bean-Goose may be found breeding throughout the tundra seasons. marshes, wet grasslands, lakes, and large rivers are all likely to have it during the winter. They also like to graze in fields, where they can freely interact with other geese.

Tundra Bean-Geese eat grasses, seeds, and small creatures in wetlands, but cereal grains, potatoes, and other crops in agricultural fields.

Tundra vegetation is home to Tundra Bean-Geese nests. Nests are made of lichen and placed on a dry moss hummock in a shallow scrape. Over the course of twenty-six days, the female lays four to six eggs.

Fun Fact: Tundra Bean-Goose are skittish, so they favor fields devoid of grazing animals. They are easily startled.

10. Graylag Goose

In Canada, Graylag Geese are an accidental species. They were only discovered in Ontario in 2022, and they are extremely uncommon here.

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

Womales are somewhat smaller than males, although they appear similar.

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

Domesticated geese are called Graylag Geese in North America, and they may be too big to fly. Because they are originally from Europe, wild ones are rare to come by.

During the breeding season, Graylag Geese can be found in marshes, lakes, and reservoirs. They like thick ground cover such as reeds, rushes, and shrubs. Saltwater marshes, estuaries, bogs, and even agricultural fields are home to them in the winter.

Both land and water are sources of food for Graylag Geese. They graze on grass in pastures, where they eat alongside sheep or cows. Cereals, such as oats, wheat, and barley, that they find in agricultural fields and farmlands are also consumed by them.

Graylag Geese eat aquatic vegetation and inanimals, such as tiny fish, amphibians, crustaceans, mollusks, and inanimals. They are found near or on the water.

Graylag Goose nests are often discovered among high reeds or shrubs on the ground. The female only begins to incubate when the final egg is deposited, and she normally deposits four to six eggs. For around a week, she will sit on the eggs while the male protects the area.

Fun Fact: Graylag Goose feathers were employed as arrow shafts, and they were fletched with quill pens.

11. Emperor Goose

In Canada, Emperor Geese are an accidental species, and they were last seen in Quebec in 2020, according to records.

Because they prefer coastal environments, Emperor Geese are also known as Beach Geese. Because of their lovely feathers, they’re also known as Painted Geese.

The resemblance between a male and female Emperor Goose is striking. Their skulls are white, and their bills, chins, and throats are pink. Their bodies have scalloped patterns and yellow-orange legs, while their tails are white.

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

The coloration of juveniles is duller. Their heads and necks are both dark. Their legs are darker in color and their bills 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 migrate to the Bering Sea in the arctic and sub-arctic during the winter, where they breed.

Throughout the summer, you may see the Emperor Goose in freshwater tidal pools, inland lakes, and coastal lagoons. Mudflats, rocky beaches, and coastal tundra are all home to them during the winter.

Emperor Geese diets vary depending on where they live and what season it is. They feed entirely on land during the breeding and nesting season, feeding on grasses, sedges, berries, roots, and bulbs.

They stamp their feet on mudflats to dislodge clams during the winter, which they do by “puddling.” They eat crustaceans, bivalve mollusks, barnacles, eelgrass, and sea lettuce when they’re near or on water.

Emperor Goose nests are often found amid the marshes, in shallow depressions on the ground. The female creates four to six eggs in the nests and lines it with leaves and her own feathers.

However, in other Emperor Geese nests, she may deposit up to eight more eggs.

The female incubates for twenty-four days. After a few hours, goslings can walk, swim, and feed themselves.

Fun Fact: The adult Emperor Goose wears a white crown and nape that looks like ermine trim on a royal cloak, earning its name.

12. Egyptian Goose

In Canada, Egyptian Geese are very uncommon, however they were observed in Quebec in 2021.

The Egyptian Goose is a decorative bird that has spread to invasive population levels in various nations, including zoos and aviaries.

The Egyptian Goose has several characteristics that set it 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 some reddish tints at the nape.

A reddish-brown collar surrounds their neck. Their backs and wings are a mix of white, green, brown, and black. Their breasts are tan, their bellies are white with gray linings, and their backs and wings are a mix of white, green, brown. Pink legs and feet are visible on them.

The head and nape of juveniles are a deeper reddish-brown. Their bellies are generally light brown or tan. 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 populations in Europe and North America, despite their African origin.

Egyptian Goose may be found around water in open, wetlands, and non-forested regions. Zoos and aviaries are also common places to keep them.

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 consumed by them.

Egyptian Goose nests may be discovered on the ground, in tree hollows, caves, and other creatures’ nests. The nests, which carry up to 22 eggs and take around a month to hatch, are mostly comprised of grasses, leaves, and down.

The young must learn how to feed themselves, but parents will take care of them.

Fun Fact: Ancient Egypt revered the Egyptian Goose, which is depicted in a lot of their paintings.

13. Taiga Bean-Goose

Although Canada’s Taiga Bean-Geese are an accidental species, they are exceedingly uncommon here and have not been seen in many years.

The American Ornithological Society recognizes the Taiga and Tundra Bean-Goose as distinct species, while other authorities refer to them as bean geese.

Dark brown heads and necks, black bills with a yellow-orange band, dark brown throats with gray streaks, and a scaled pattern overall make up the Taiga Bean-Geese.

The Tundra Bean Goose has a shorter beak with a lesser orange band on the beak, whereas the Taiga Bean Goose has a bigger 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 typical Taiga Bean-Geese diet. They will eat cereals and other available crops if there are agricultural lands nearby.

Taiga Bean-Geese nests are often found beside water on grassy hummocks. These nests are generally found at the base of shrubs and trees. Grasses, mosses, and other plants are used to make the nests, which are then lined with down. The female incubates the eggs for four weeks and lays four to five eggs.

Fun Fact: Anser, a goose, and fabalis, a broad bean, are combined to create the Taiga Bean-Goose. Throughout the winter, it was known to graze and forage in bean fields.

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