7 Types Of Geese In Saskatchewan (Photo And ID Guide)

This guide will teach you what kinds of geese seen in Saskatchewan are and how to recognize them using photographs and extensive identification guides, as well as information about when and where you may see them.

Saskatchewan has been home to seven of the thirteen geese species found in North America. Your best chance of seeing them is during migration.

A gaggle is a group of geese. Do you know the names shien, wedge, and plump for geese?

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

In the United States, it is unlawful to harm geese, their eggs, or their nests without authorization from the government. They are covered by the migratory bird treaty. USFWS stands for fish and wild service.

7 Types Of Geese In Saskatchewan:


1. Canada Goose

Throughout the year, Canadian Geese may be found in Saskatchewan, although during migration they multiply. Summer checklists include them in 27% of lists, 6% of winter checklists, and up to 53% of lists submitted by birdwatchers for the province during migration.

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

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

Brown with a tan or pale chest and a white rump, their bodies are brown. 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 remain year-round and do not migrate, as their name would suggest. Western Europe is also home to these creatures.

Canada Geese can be found all around the place. They are commonly seen near lakes and rivers, in general, wherever there is a body of water and an abundant food source. They also live comfortably in urban habitats such as city parks, reservoirs, golf courses, public parks, and beaches because they are used to humans.

They’ve become a bother in several areas, where their numbers have exploded.

When on land, Canada Geese eat grasses, while in the water, they eat tiny aquatic insects and fish. While on agricultural fields, they also consume wheat, rice, and corn. They’re used to people feeding them and rummaging in trash bins for food.

Canada Geese nests are frequently built on elevated land near water. In a nest made of plant material and down, the female lays up to nine eggs. The male stays nearby, protecting the eggs, while she incubates them for approximately a month.

Their parents bring them to a feeding source when they hatch, and they learn how to eat there. When parents perceive danger or threats to their family, they are extremely territorial and violent.

Fun Fact: Since adults’ molting season coincides with that of juveniles, adults lose their flight feathers during the breeding season. Just after their feathers have regrown, they are able to fly with their young again, having been away for up to forty days.

2. Snow Goose

During their migration from March to May and August to November, snow geese can be seen in Saskatchewan throughout the year. In spring, 12% of checklists have them, whereas in autumn, 18% do.

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

Interestingly, the Blue Goose has a white head but a dark blue-gray body, and it comes in another variation. Due to their feeding, both varieties of Snow Geese may have a “stained” head on occasion.

Both forms have comparable sexes, although they may differ in size. Males have a tendency to be larger than females.

Dusky gray-brown coloring characterizes juvenile white morphs, while dark gray characterizes juvenile blue morphs. The distinctive 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 migrate to the United States during the winter and breed mostly in Canada.

In freshwater marshes and agricultural grain fields, you may see Snow Geese and Blue Geese together. They eat salt marshes and coastal bays in the winter, but they’ll eat plowed maizefields or mudflats.

Snow geese are omnivores that consume a lot of plants. Water-logged soil or shallow water is often used to feed 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 devoured.

Snow Goose nests are frequently seen in vast colonies on tundra. Since females return to the place where they hatched to breed, a female will build a nest, which is normally a shallow depression on the ground.

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

Fun Fact: Snow Geese pair for life and select the same color morph as themselves when breeding.

3. Greater White-fronted Goose

During migration, Greater White-fronted Geese can be found in Saskatchewan, particularly from March to May and September to November. During migration, they appear in up to 8% of checklists.

White-fronted Goose is the European name for the Greater White-fronted Goose, whereas Greater Whitefront is the North American name.

Greater White-fronted Geese are both huge geese, and they appear to be similar in sex.

They are frequently mistaken for the Graylag Goose because their barred feathers are mostly gray all-over. The “white front,” or white feathers that surround the base of its orange beak, is what distinguishes them. Their underbelly contains black specks 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, with most breeding in North America. Nonetheless, Europe and east Asia are also home to them.

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

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

Both land and water are used by Greater White-fronted Geese. Agricultural fields provide them food such as seeds and grains. Grasses and berries are also consumed by them. They search for aquatic insects and mollusks when near water.

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

Fun Fact: Long-term family relationships exist among Greater White-fronted Geese. The youngsters stay with their parents until the following breeding season, even migrating with them and producing offspring.

4. Cackling Goose

From March to May and September to December, Cackling Geese may be seen migrating through Saskatchewan’s south. During these times, they may be found in up to 7% of checklists.

Cackling Geese look a lot like Canada Geese and are native to North America. They used to be classified as a subspecies of Canada Goose, but in 2004, they were elevated to the level of species.

The heads and necks of cackling geese are black, with a white chinstrap patch. Short, black, and triangular are the words on their bills. They have white stripes on them 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 four subspecies, including the white chinstrap, all have black heads and necks, though 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 found in wetlands and meadows all year. Throughout the winter, they typically join flocks and blend with other geese in lakes, marshes, and fields, although during the summer, they favor the tundra.

Cackling Geese graze on grasses and eat berries in open areas when foraging. In agricultural fields, they may also eat wheat, barley, beans, rice, and corn. They consume aquatic plants in the water.

Cackling Geese nests may be found in groups or individually. They’re usually found near the water, in a shallow depression, but on higher ground. The nests are made of plant materials and down by the females. She will breed up to eight eggs, which she will incubate for a month in this habitat.

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

5. Ross’s Goose

From March to June and September to November, Ross’s geese may be seen in Saskatchewan during their migration, but they are not particularly frequent. At these times, they are seen on up to 3% of checklists.

Snow Geese, with whom Ross’s geese frequently flock, are very similar to Ross’s geese. Their small, gray-based red-orange beaks, tiny and stubby pink-red legs, and black wingtips are the only things that make them look white. The female is somewhat smaller than the male in both sexes.

Ross’ Goose has a black phase variation, however it is quite uncommon. The bill is brownish, and the head, underparts, and back are all white.

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

The Ross’ Geese spend their winters in the United States, where they breed in northern Canada.

During the winter, Ross’ Geese may be found in both salt and freshwater marshes. They will 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 who prefer to graze on grasses.

In colonies on lake islands and northern tundra, Ross’ Geese nests may be found. Females create nests made out of grasses, moss, leaves, and twigs lined with down on the ground. Four to five eggs are laid by each breeding female, which she incubates for three weeks.

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

6. Tundra Bean-Goose

In Saskatchewan, Tundra Bean-Geese are an uncommon and accidental species. In 2020, they were last detected near Regina.

Some authorities still consider the Tundra Bean-Goose to be a single species, despite being closely related to the Taiga Bean-Goose. They are already classified as distinct species by the American Ornithological Society and the International Ornithologists’ Union.

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

Juveniles have a yellow beak, dull orange legs, and faint barring on the flanks, while males and females appear similar.

The Tundra Bean Goose has a smaller orange band on the bill than the Taiga Bean Goose, which has a longer beak with a broad orange marking.

  • 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 is most commonly seen during the breeding season and can be found in tundra. marshes, wet meadows, lakes, and wide rivers are all likely to be home to this species in the winter. They also have a thing for agricultural areas, where they can freely mingle with other geese.

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

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

Fun Fact: Tundra Bean-Goose are sensitive to disturbance, so they favor field that are free of grazing animals.

7. Brant

In Saskatchewan, Brant Geese are an unusual species. They are quite unusual in the province, but in 2022, they were discovered near Saskatoon.

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. Several sub-species exist, however the most prevalent is lighter or darker in color.

  • 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 breed in Canada and Alaska. They also have a residence in Europe.

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

On land and in water, Brant geese eat mostly plants. Eelgrass is preferred, but any grass will do. Sedges, pondweed, and aquatic insects are among the foods they consume.

Brant Goose nests are often found in tundra ponds or on elevated ground, especially on little islands. They’re down-lined shallow grass bowls.

The female lays seven eggs, which take three to four weeks to incubate. The parents bring the kittens to the feeding area once the eggs have hatched, so they may feed themselves.

Fun Fact: Brant Geese have been known to live up to 28 years.

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