8 Types Of Geese In Florida (Photo And ID Guide)

This guide will teach you how to identify the various breeds of geese that may be seen in Florida, as well as when and where you are most likely to see them. It’ll also include some interesting facts.

Florida has been home to eight of the thirteen species of geese found in North America. They’re more often seen in the state during the winter, and five of them are common, while two are uncommon.

A gaggle is a collection of geese. Yet, haven’t you heard of such terms as shien, wedge, and a fatter goose?

Or maybe their territorial behavior and loud honking have shielded pets, people, and even countries for centuries!

In the United States, it is unlawful to harm geese, their eggs, or their nests without permission from the government. They are protected under the migratory bird treaty. USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service)

You should learn more about ducks in Florida or swans in Florida if you enjoy seeing waterbirds in Florida.

8 Types Of Geese In Florida:

1. Canada Goose

In Florida, Canada Geese may be seen all year and are ubiquitous. Summer and winter checklists submitted by birdwatchers for the state contain them at a rate of 2%.

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

The Canada Goose, sometimes known as the Canadian goose, is a huge, long-necked goose with a black head and a conspicuous white chin strap that distinguishes it.

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

Brown with a tan or light chest and a white rump, their bodies are distinctive. The bodies of the subspecies may range in color from gray to brown. 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 are a kind of goose that breeds in Canada and migrates for the winter to southern United States states, but not those in the north. Western Europe is also home to them.

Canada Geese may be found almost anywhere. They can be found near lakes and rivers, or in other regions where there is a plentiful food supply. They also live happily in metropolitan environments like city parks, reservoirs, golf courses, public parks, and beaches because they are intelligently used to humans.

They’ve become a problem in many areas because their population has exploded.

While on land, Canada Geese eat grasses and tiny aquatic insects and fish. On the water, they eat mostly grasses and small aquatic insects. When they’re on agricultural fields, they also eat wheat, rice, and corn. They’re used to hunting through trash cans and getting food from humans.

Canada Goose nests are frequently found near water, in an elevated location. A nest built of plant fiber and down may hold up to nine eggs. Although the male stays nearby, she incubates the eggs for approximately a month.

Their parents bring them to a food source, where they learn to feed themselves, when they hatch. When parents sense danger or threats to their family, they become extremely territorial and violent.

Fun Fact: Since the breeding season and molting season overlap, adults lose their flying feathers during this time. Just in time for them to fly with their young, they have to regrow their feathers after twenty to forty days.

2. Egyptian Goose

Egyptian geese, who may be seen throughout the year in Florida, are non-native species. In the summer and winter checklists, they make up 1% of the list.

The Egyptian Goose, which has established to invasive population levels in a few countries, is an ornamental bird that is mostly seen in zoos and aviaries.

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

A reddish-brown collar surrounds them. Their backs and wings are a mix of white, green, brown, and black, while 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 darker reddish-brown. On their bellies, they are usually tanned or light brown. Dark brown backs and wings distinguish them.

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

Escape Egyptian Geese may be found in Europe and North America, despite their origin in Africa.

Egyptian Goose may be found near water in open, wetlands, and non-forested regions. Zoos and aviaries are sometimes used to house them.

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

Egyptian Goose nests may be found on the ground and in caverns, as well as other creature’s nests. The nests, which contain up to 22 eggs and take around a month to emerge, are mostly made of grasses, leaves, and down.

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

Fun Fact: In Ancient Egypt, the Egyptian Goose was regarded as a holy bird, and its images may be found in abundance.

3. Snow Goose

Snow Geese are most commonly sighted in Florida during the winter, from October to April. They are well-known for their yearly occurrences.

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

It also comes in a variety known as the Blue Goose, which has a white head and a dark blue-gray body. Due to their feeding, both forms of the Snow Geese might have a “stained” head on occasion.

Both forms have similar sexes, although they differ in size. Males outnumber females in terms of size.

The dusky gray-brown of juvenile white morphs contrasts with the dark gray of juvenile blue morphs. The familiar pink beak and black grin patch, on the other hand, are still present.

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

Snow Geese spend the winter in the United States, where they breed mostly in Canada.

In freshwater marshes and agricultural grain fields, you may see mixed flocks of Snow and Blue Geese. They prefer salt marshes and coastal coves in the winter, but they’ll visit fields and marshes.

Snow Geese are omnivores who consume a lot of plants. Water-logged soil or shallow water is often consumed by them. Grasses, sedges, willows, rushes, and horsetails are among the plants that they prefer to eat. Seeds, grains, and plants that have been ripped up by their roots will also be eaten.

Snow Goose nests are most commonly discovered in huge colonies on tundra. Because females return to the spot where they hatched to breed, the female creates a nest, which is frequently a shallow depression on the ground.

She lines the nest with grasses and down after she has laid the first three to five eggs. The goslings spend around twenty-four days in incubation, and when they emerge, they are able to care for themselves.

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

4. Greater White-fronted Goose

In Florida, Greater White-fronted Geese are only seen throughout the winter, but they have been observed.

In Europe, the Greater White-fronted Goose is referred to as the White-fronted Goose, while in North America it is known as the Greater Whitefront.

Greater White-fronted Geese are both quite huge geese, with males and femas appearing to be similar.

They are frequently mistaken for the Graylag Goose due to their barred feathers, which 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 also have black flecks.

  • 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, with Canada as their primary breeding habitat. Yet, Europe and East Asia are also home to them.

Greater White-fronted Geese spend the winter along the West Coast of the United States, The Gulf Coast, and Mexico, where they breed in the west of northern Canada.

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

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

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

5. Ross’s Goose

From November to April, Ross’s Geese spend the winter in Florida, although they are not particularly frequent.

Snow Geese, whom Ross’ geese often flock with, are a good match for them. Their small, gray-based red-orange beaks, pink-red legs and feet, and black wingtips are the only things that distinguish them from the rest of the flock. The female is somewhat smaller than the male.

Ross’ Goose has a dark phase variation, however it is extremely rare. It features a white head, a brownish beak with a crimson patch, black gray chests, 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 reside during the winter and breed throughout the summer.

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

Ross’ geese feed on grass, sedges, and tiny grains foraged from marshes, meadows, and fields. They are grazers that prefer to graze on grass.

In colonies on lake islands and arctic tundra, Ross’ Geese nests may be found. Females create nests out of downy grasses, moss, leaves, and twigs that are placed on the ground. For about three weeks, each breeding female incubates four to five eggs.

Fun Fact: The tiniest geese in North America are Ross’s Geese.

6. Brant

In Florida, Brant Geese are considered uncommon or unintended species, although they may be seen here from November to March during the winter.

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, there are several subspecies with varied 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 moving to coastal regions of the United States and Mexico, Brant Geese reside in Canada and Alaska. In addition, they reside all throughout Europe.

During the breeding season, Brant Geese can be found in tundra, marshes, islands, and coastal regions. Salt marshes, lagoons, mudflats, and tidal estuaries are where they spend the winter.

On land and in water, Brant geese feed mostly on plant matter. They prefer eelgrass, but are open to any grass. Sedges, pondweed, and aquatic insects are among the foods they eat.

In tundra ponds or on high spots, Brant Geese nests are often found on little islands. They’re made of downy grass and are shallow bowls.

The female lays up to seven eggs, which take three to four weeks to hatch. The parents accompany the young to the feeding spot once the eggs have hatched.

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

7. Cackling Goose

In Florida, cackling geese are an uncommon species that is classified as an accidental species. In 2019, they were last seen in the South Lake Conservation Area.

Cackling Geese resemble Canada Geese and are native to North America. They were first classified as part of the Canada Goose family, but in 2004, they were elevated to species status.

With a white “chinstrap” patch, Cackling Geese have black heads and necks. Their small, triangular bills stand out among the crowd. They have white banding on all sides 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. They are smaller in size.

The four subspecies, including the white chinstrap, have black heads and necks and are distinguished by slight differences 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 migrate to the United States during the winter after breeding in Canada and Alaska.

Cackling Geese may be seen in wetlands and meadows all year. In winter, they often join flocks and mingle with other geese in lakes, marshes, and fields; however, during the summer, they prefer the tundra.

Cackling Geese eat 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 underwater flora and other aquatic flora.

Cackling Geese nests may be found both alone and in colonies. They’re usually found near the water, in a shallow depression, but on higher ground. To make the nests, females collect plant material and down. She’ll lay up to eight eggs, which she incubates for approximately a month in this habitat.

Fun Fact: Cackling Geese are easily distinguished from Canada Geese because of their distinctive “cackling” voice or high-pitched call.

8. Barnacle Goose

The last time anyone saw Barnacle Geese in Florida was in 2015, when they were spotted near Tropical Park.

The medium-sized yet delicate-looking Barnacle Geese are a breed of geese. Their beaks are black, and their upper chest, head, neck, and wings are black with white bars. Their bellies are white and their backs are silver-gray with black and white bars.

V-shaped rumps and silver-gray linings are visible while in the air.

  • 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 habitats for Barnacle Geese. They usually live on islets, islands, and near-shore cliff ledges during the breeding season.

Whether on tundra, near water, or in agricultural fields, Barnacle Geese eat mostly grass. While near water, they also eat aquatic vegetation, as well as insects and crops in fields.

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

For twenty-five days, the female incubates her five eggs. The juvenile are escorted to marshes with abundant vegetation after the eggs have hatched, so they may feed themselves. After approximately 45 days, they fledge.

Fun Fact: The name Barnacle Goose comes from a Medieval Legend about how they supposedly originated from Barnacles.

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