9 Types Of Geese In Delaware (Photo And ID Guide)

This guide will teach you what sort of geese you may see in Delaware, as well as when and where you are most likely to see them. It will also offer some entertaining facts about them.

Delaware has been home to nine of the thirteen geese species discovered in North America. In the winter, they are most frequently seen, although some are more common than others.

A gaggle is a term used to describe a group of geese. Yet, aren’t you aware of the names shien, wedge, and plump that are given to geese?

Or maybe their territorial demeanor and loud honking have been utilized for centuries to safeguard pets, people, and even nations!

In the United States, it is unlawful to damage geese, their eggs, or their nests unless you have authorization from the federal government. USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service)

You might want to learn more about ducks in Delaware or swans in Delaware if you enjoy seeing waterbirds in the state.

9 Types Of Geese In Delaware:

1. Canada Goose

Delaware is home to Canada geese, which may be seen throughout the year. Bird watchers in the state submitted checklists with 31% of them being summer checklists and 37% being winter checklists.

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

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

They have a white rump and are brown with a tan or pale chest. 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 produce in Canada and travel to southern US states for the winter, but not for the northern US states, as their name implies. Western Europe is also home to them.

Canada Geese may be found in nearly every habitat. These are often seen near lakes and rivers, especially near places where there is a lot of food. They also thrive in metropolitan environments like city parks, reservoirs, golf courses, public parks, and beaches. They are also utilized to humans.

Their population has grown significantly in some areas, and they’ve been designated pests.

When on land, Canada Geese eat grasses, while in the water, they eat tiny aquatic insects and fish. While they’re in agricultural fields, they also consume wheat, rice, and corn. They’re used to catching scraps from humans or rummaging through trash cans for food.

Canada Goose nests are typically located near water, in an elevated position. In a nest constructed of plant material and down, the female lays up to nine eggs. For roughly a month, she incubates the eggs while the male stays nearby, guarding them.

Their parents take them to a food source when they hatch, where they learn to eat on their own. When parents perceive danger or threats to their family, they become very territorial and violent.

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

2. Snow Goose

Although Snow Geese may be seen year-round in Delaware, their numbers peak from October to March. Summer checklists include them at a rate of 1%, while winter checklists include them at a rate of 18%.

Except for its black wingtips, pink beak, and pink legs and feet, the Snow Goose is appropriately named since this goose is completely white.

Surprisingly, the Blue Goose has a white head but a dark blue-gray body, which is a different variant. Due to their feeding habits, both breeds of Snow Geese may have a “stained” head on occasion.

Both varieties have similar sexes, although they vary in size. Males tend to be larger than females in terms of size.

Dusky gray-brown juvenile white morphs, and dark gray juvenile blue morphs, are the immature forms. The recognizable pink beak and black grin patch are still present on both.

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 can survive on their own after that.

Fun Fact: When Snow Geese pair for life, they choose the same color morph as themselves.

3. Brant

From October through May, Brant Geese may be seen in Delaware, and they appear on 3% of winter checklists.

A black head, neck, and chest, a white collar or mark on the neck, and a white rump distinguish the Brant Goose, which is a little goose. Several sub-species 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 US and Mexico, Brant Geese breed in Canada and Alaska. They also have a presence in Europe.

During the breeding season, Brant Geese may be seen in tundra, marshlands, islands, and coastal areas. Salt marshes, lagoons, mudflats, and tidal estuaries are where they spend the winter.

Both on land and in water, Brant geese consume predominantly plant matter. They prefer eelgrass, but will eat any grass that is available. Sedges, pondweed, and aquatic insects are also eaten by them.

On tiny islands in tundra ponds or on high ground, Brant Goose nests are often situated. Grass bowls with down linings are shallow.

The female lays seven eggs, which take three to four weeks to hatch. The parents bring the immature to the feeding place so they may feed themselves when the eggs hatch.

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

4. Ross’s Goose

From October through mid-April, Ross’ Geese spend the winter in Delaware, although they are not particularly plentiful.

Ross’ geese, which he often flocks with, are very similar to Snow Geese. The small, gray-based red-orange beaks, short and stubby pink-red legs and foot, and black wingtips are the only parts of them that are white. The female is somewhat smaller than the male, but both sexes are identical.

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

  • 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 breed, and during the winter in the United States.

During the winter, Ross’ Geese may be found in both salt and freshwater marshes. They’ll build nests on the arctic tundra throughout the breeding season.

Ross’ Geese are grazers that feed on grass, sedges, and little grains found in wetlands, meadows, and fields. They graze on these foods frequently.

In colonies on lake islands and arctic tundra, Ross’ Geese nests may be found. Females construct nests out of grasses, moss, leaves, and twigs lined with down on the ground. Each breeding female produces four to five eggs, which she incubates for three weeks.

Fun Fact: The smallest geese in North America are Ross’ geese.

5. Cackling Goose

In Delaware, Cackling Geese are not particularly frequent, although they are seen here throughout winter, from mid-September to March.

Cackling Geese are very similar to Canada Geese and may be found across North America. They used to be part of the Canada Goose family, but in 2004 they were recognized as a separate species.

With a white “chinstrap” patch, Cackling Geese have black heads and necks. Their receipts are small, black, and triangular in shape. They have a white bar on the body 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 is one of four subspecies that all have black heads and necks, with slight differences in size or 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 migrate to the United States during the winter and breed in Canada and Alaska.

In wetlands and meadows, you may see Cackling Geese year-round. During winter, they often join flocks and mingle with other geese in lakes, marshes, and fields, but during the summer they prefer the tundra.

Cackling Geese eat sedges and berries when foraging in open areas to graze on grasses. In agricultural fields, they’ll also devour wheat, barley, beans, rice, and maize crops. They consume aquatic vegetation in the water.

Cackling Goose nests may be found individually or in groups. They’re generally found in a low depression by the water, although they’re somewhat elevated. Plant materials and down are used by the females to build the nests. She’ll incubate up to eight eggs over the course of a month in this safe haven.

Fun Fact: Cackling Geese are distinguished from Canada Geese by their unique cackling voice or high-pitched cry.

6. Greater White-fronted Goose

Greater White-fronted Geese are a common sight in Delaware throughout the winter, and they spend the winter here, from October to May.

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

Greater White-fronted Geese are both huge geese, with males and females looking similar.

Because of the gray all-over color of their barred feathers, they are frequently confused with the Graylag Goose. The white front, or the white feathers around the base of its orange beak, is what sets them apart. Their underparts are also speckled with black.

They are frequently mistaken with the Graylag Goose because their barred feathers are mostly gray all-over. The white front, or the white feathers that surround 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 in Canada and go to the United States and Mexico for winter in North America. Nonetheless, Europe and east Asia are also home to them.

Greater White-fronted Geese breed in Canada’s west and spend the winter along the United States’ west coast, as well as Mexico’s Gulf Coast.

You can find Greater White-fronted Geese in marshy tundra, wetlands, rivers, and ponds during the breeding season. In winter, they stay in agricultural fields, marshes, bays, and lakes.

Both land and water are frequented by Greater White-fronted Geese. They eat seeds and grains from agricultural fields, as well as other crops. Grasses and berries are also eaten by them. They forage on aquatic insects and mollusks while near water.

In shallow depressions in the tundra, Greater White-fronted Geese nests may be found. Three to six eggs are usually lined with grass and down. For two to three weeks, the female incubates them.

Fun Fact: Family ties between Greater White-fronted Geese are long-term. The young stay with their parents until the next breeding season, even if they migrate together with their offspring.

7. Pink-footed Goose

In 2021, pink-footed geese were seen near Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge and Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware, indicating that they are considered uncommon or accidental species.

The Pink-footed Goose, also known as the Pinkfoot, has pink feet and legs, unlike its close relatives the Taiga and Tundra Bean Geese. Although they look the same,

Youngsters have a more defined scaled pattern on their sides, flanks, and backs. Males and females appear similar, but juveniles are dark brown.

  • 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 United 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 fields, and rocky outcrops and crags are all good places to see Pink-footed Geese.

In the summer, Pink-footed Geese eat a broad range of tundra plants, both on land and in water, whereas in the winter they primarily eat maize, sugar beets, and potatoes from agricultural fields.

For around four weeks, the female incubates three to five eggs. The baby goslings, accompanied by their parents, head for the nearest lake for nourishment when the eggs hatch.

Fun Fact: Pink-footed Geese, on the other hand, eat the leaves and roots of sugar beets and potatoes after they are harvested, which may help farmers in some cases. Crop diseases are less likely to be transmitted this way.

8. Barnacle Goose

In Delaware, Barnacle Geese are extremely uncommon, although they were last spotted near New Castle in 2014.

Medium-sized yet delicate-looking geese, barnacle geese are a variety of goose. Their heads, necks, and upper chests are black, as are their bellies. Their faces are white, their bills are short and black, and their wings and back are silver-gray with black and white stripes.

V-shaped rumps and silver-gray linings can 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, meadows, pastures, and agricultural fields are all home to Barnacle Geese. They usually colonize islets, islands, and cliff ledges along the shore during the breeding season.

Grass is the primary food of Barnacle Geese, who can be found in tundra, near water, or on farms. When near water, they feed on aquatic plants and insects, as well as crops and grains in fields.

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 babies are brought to marshes with plenty of greenery so that they may feed themselves after the eggs hatch. After approximately 45 days, they fledge.

Fun Fact: The name Barnacle Goose comes from a Medieval Legend that says they originated from Barnacles.

9. Egyptian Goose

In Delaware, Egyptian Geese are an unusual species that has only been seen in New Castle.

The Egyptian Goose, which has grown to invasive population numbers in some countries, is an ornamental bird that is most commonly seen in zoos and aviaries.

Egyptian geese have several unique characteristics that make them immediately distinguishable. 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 hues at the nape.

They have a reddish-brown neck, which is the collar. Their bellies are white with gray linings, while their backs and wings are a mix of white, green, brown, while black. Their breasts are tan. Pink legs and feet are visible on them.

The head and nape of juveniles are darker reddish-brown. Their bellies are usually brown or tan in color. Dark brown is the color of their backs 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)

Egyptian Geese have populations in Europe and North America, despite their native habitat being Africa.

Egyptian Goose may be found near water in open, wetlands, and non-forested settings. Zoos and aviaries are also common habitats for them.

Ground and hollows of trees, caves, and other animals’ nests are home to Egyptian Goose nests. Nests typically comprise grasses, leaves, and down, and they contain twenty-two eggs that take approximately a month to emerge.

The young will be looked after by their parents, but they must learn to feed themselves.

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

Leave a Comment