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

This guide will teach you what sorts of geese you might see in Maryland, as well as when and where you may expect to find them. It will also include some interesting facts.

Maryland has been home to nine of the thirteen geese species native to North America. Except for the Canada Goose, which may be seen here all year, they are mostly visitors in the winter.

A gaggle is a collection of geese. So, what do you know about geese names like shien, wedge, and a rotund?

In the United States, it is illegal to hurt geese, their eggs, or their nests without permission from the federal government. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

In the United States, it is unlawful to kill geese, their eggs, or their nests without permission from the US migratory bird convention. US Fish and Wildlife Service.

9 Types Of Geese In Maryland:


1. Canada Goose

In Maryland, Canada geese can be found throughout the year. In the state of Massachusetts, they are seen on 26% of summer and 39% of winter bird watcher checklists.

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

Canada Geese look very similar to Cackling Geese, and they have the same black head and white chin strap, but their long, graceful neck and large size separate them.

Canada Geese have a black head and white chin strap, and their long, elegant neck and great size differentiate them from Cackling Geese.

Canada Geese look very similar to Cackling Geese, and they have the same black head and white chin strap, but their long, graceful neck and large size separate them.

Canada Geese have a long, graceful neck and a large size that distinguishes them from Cackling Geese. They have the same black head and white chin strap.

Brown in color with a tan or light chest and white rump, they have brown bodies. Among the subspecies, the bodies may be gray or brown in color. Black is the color of their 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 during the winter, but those in the northern United States remain throughout the year and do not travel. Their name suggests they migrate to southern US states for the winter. Western Europe is also home to these creatures.

Canada Geese may be found in almost anyplace. They’re often seen near lakes and rivers, especially in places with a lot of food and water. They adapt well to metropolitan surroundings such as city parks, reservoirs, golf courses, public parks, and beaches since they are used to humans.

They’ve become a problem in some areas, where their population has exploded.

When on land, Canada Geese eat grasses, while on the water, they eat small aquatic insects and fish. While in agricultural fields, they also consume wheat, rice, and corn. They’re used to grabbing leftovers from people’s plates or rummaging through trash bins.

Canada Geese nests are frequently found near water, in an elevated location. In a nest of plant fiber and down, the female lays up to nine eggs. For around a month, she holds the eggs while the male stays close by to protect them.

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 are extremely territorial and violent.

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

2. Snow Goose

Snow Geese are found on 2% of winter checklists and can be seen in Maryland from October to March. Some, on the other hand, may be seen year-round in the state.

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

Surprisingly, the Blue Goose has a white head and a dark blue-gray body, although it shares the same gene. Due to their feeding, both forms of the Snow Geese may have a “stained” head at times.

Both versions have a similar sex and may differ in size. Males are generally bigger than females.

The dusky gray-brown color of juvenile white morphs contrasts with the dark gray color of juvenile blue morphs. They both, however, have the distinctive 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, who breed mostly in Canada, spend the winter in the United States.

Snow geese are herbivores and gourmets. Water-logged soil or shallow water is frequently consumed by them. Grasses, sedges, willows, rushes, and horsetails are among the plants they prefer. Seeds, grains, and plants ripped up by their roots will also be consumed by them.

On tundra, large colonies of Snow Geese nests are common. Because females return to the place where they hatched to breed, they construct a nest, which is usually a shallow depression on the ground.

She lines the nest with grasses and down after she lays the first three to five eggs. The goslings can survive on their own after about twenty-four days of incubation.

Fun Fact: Snow Geese mate for life and choose the same hue morph as themselves when reproducing.

3. Brant

From October through May, Brant Geese are spotted in Maryland’s winter. On winter checklists, they account for 1%.

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. Yet, numerous sub-species exist, with varying skin tones as the most common.

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

Before settling in coastal regions of the United States and Mexico, Brant Geese bred in Canada and Alaska. In addition, they may be found throughout Europe.

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

Brant Geese nests are often found on tiny isles in tundra ponds or on raised grounds. They’re down-lined grass bowls that are shallow.

The female lays seven eggs that take three to four weeks to hatch. The parents bring the young to the feeding area after they’ve hatched, so they can feed themselves.

Fun Fact: Brant geese may live up to 28 years in the wild.

4. Cackling Goose

Between mid-September and May, Cackling Geese are seen in 1% of checklists in Maryland during the winter.

Cackling Geese look a lot like Canada Geese and are native to North America. They were developed into a full species in 2004, after being initially classified as part of the Canada Goose family.

The heads and necks of Cackling Geese are black, while the chinstrap is white. Their black, triangular bills are small and short. They have white striping all over, and are light brown or tan in color.

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

The white chinstrap subspecies, as well as the other four subspecies, have black heads and necks and vary in size or coloring.

  • 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 year-round. In the winter, they prefer lakes, marshes, and fields, but in the summer, they prefer the tundra. They join flocks and mix with other geese.

Grasses and sedges and berries are eaten by cackling geese in open areas. They’ll also eat grains in agricultural fields, such as wheat, barley, beans, rice, and corn. They eat aquatic plants in the water.

Cackling Geese nests may be found alone or in groups. They’re usually found near the water, in a shallow depression. Plant matter and down are used by the females to build nests. She will lay up to eight eggs, which she will incubate for around a month in this nest.

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

5. Greater White-fronted Goose

From October to April, Greater White-fronted Geese can be found in Maryland during the winter.

In Europe, the Greater White-fronted Goose is known as the Whitefronted Goose, whereas in North America it is known as the Greater Whitefront.

Greater White-fronted Geese are both rather big geese, with males and females appearing similar.

They are frequently mistaken for 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 underparts, they 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 mostly in Canada and migrate to the United States and Mexico for the winter in North America. They can, however, be found throughout Europe and East Asia.

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

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

Land and water foraging by Greater White-fronted Geese They feed on agricultural fields’ crops, such as seeds and grains. Grasses and berries are also consumed by them. They fish for aquatic insects and mollusks when they are near water.

In shallow depressions in the tundra, nests of Greater White-fronted Geese may be found. They normally contain three to six eggs, which are lined with grass and down. For two to three weeks, the female sits on them.

Fun Fact: Long-term family ties exist between Greater White-fronted Geese. They move together, and the youngsters stay with their parents until the following breeding season. They even migrate with their offspring.

6. Ross’s Goose

In Maryland, Ross’ Geese are considered uncommon or accidental, however they may be seen here from October to April during the winter.

Snow Geese, with whom Ross’ geese frequently flock, are relatively similar to Ross’. Their little, gray-based red-orange beaks, short and stubby, pink-red legs and feet, and black wingtips distinguish them from the rest of the flock. The female is somewhat smaller than the male, which is similar.

Ross’ Goose has a dark phase variation, albeit it’s very unusual. It features a pale head, a brownish beak with a crimson patch, black neck and back.

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

Ross’ Geese live in the United States during the winter and breed in northern Canada.

Ross’ Geese may be found in both salt and fresh marshes throughout the winter. During the breeding season, they will nest on the arctic tundra.

In colonies on lake islands and arctic tundra, Ross’ Geese nests can be found. Females create nests out of grasses, moss, leaves, and twigs lined with down on the ground. For about three weeks, each breeding female sits on four to five eggs.

Fun Fact: The world’s tiniest geese are Ross’ Geese.

7. Pink-footed Goose

In Maryland, pink-footed geese are considered an accidental species and are very uncommon. They were last seen around Ridgely.

Pink-footed Geese, or “pinkfoot” for short, have pink feet and legs, unlike its close relatives, the Taiga and Tundra Bean Geese. Because of their similarities, they may seem to be the same.

They have brown heads, black beaks with a pink band in the centre, blue-gray backs and wings, light-brown throats and breasts with a barring pattern, white rumps and pink legs and toes.

Youngsters are dark brown with a more noticeable scaled pattern on their sides, flanks, and backs; males and females seem identical.

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

Pink-footed Geese migrate to the northeastern United States throughout the winter. Yet, Greenland and Europe are the places where they most often occur.

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

In the summer, Pink-footed Geese eat a broad range of tundra vegetation, whether on land or in water, and in the winter, they primarily eat grains, sugar beets, and potatoes from agricultural fields.

Pink-footed Geese nests are often seen near glaciers and on islands in lakes, particularly along the coast. To avoid predatory attacks, they need a secure habitat for nesting. Simple, shallow scrapes on the ground lined with moss and down are used for nests.

The female incubates three to five eggs for around four weeks after they are laid. The tiny goslings accompany their parents to the closest lake for food after the eggs hatch.

Fun Fact: Pink-footed Geese, on the other hand, are beneficial to farmers since they eat sugar beet and potato leaves and roots after harvest. They may harm crops while feeding. Crop diseases are less likely to spread as a result.

8. Barnacle Goose

In Maryland, Barnacle Geese are a rare species. They were last seen in the vicinity of Frederick, and they are exceedingly uncommon in the state.

The medium-sized but delicate-looking Barnacle Goose is a goose species. Its heads, throats, and upper chests are black, bellies are white, and wings and back are silver-gray with black and white bands. Their faces are white, their bills are short, and their head is black.

V-shaped rumps and silver-gray linings are 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 winter.

Salt marshes, grassy fields, pastureland, and agricultural fields are all good places to look for Barnacle Geese. They often inhabit islets, islands, and shore cliffs during the breeding season.

Whether on tundra, near water, or in farms, Barnacle Geese eat mostly grass. While near water and crops and grains in fields, they also feed on aquatic vegetation and insects.

To safeguard the eggs from predators, Barnacle Geese nests are commonly placed on cliff ledges. The nest is lined with soft down feathers by the female, who uses mud and dead foliage to make it.

Over the course of twenty-five days, the female lays five eggs and nurtures them. The juvenile are taken to marshes with abundant vegetation after the eggs hatch, so that they may feed themselves. After roughly 45 days, they fledged.

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

9. Egyptian Goose

In Maryland, Egyptian Geese are only known to frequent Hagerstown City Park.

The Egyptian Goose, while largely seen in zoos and aviaries, has established a invasive population in certain areas due to its decorative nature.

Egyptian Geese have a lot of distinguishing characteristics that make them stand out. A brown patch surrounds their golden-yellow or orange eyes. Their bills are pink on top and black on the bottom, with their heads being whitish-gray with some reddish tones at the nape.

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

The reddish-brown head and nape of juveniles stand out. Their bellies are usually tanned or light brown. Dark brown backs and wings characterize 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)

Egyptian Geese are found in Europe and North America, despite their African origin.

Egyptian Goose may be found around water in open, wetlands, and non-forested areas. 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 creatures, will be devoured by them.

On the ground and in hollows of trees, caves, and other animals’ nests, Egyptian Goose nests may be found. The nests, which contain up to twenty-two eggs and take roughly a month to hatch, are mostly composed of grasses, leaves, and down.

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

Fun Fact: Ancient Egypt revered the Egyptian Goose, and it was represented in a variety of paintings.

Leave a Comment