6 Types Of Geese In Wyoming (Photo And ID Guide)

This guide will teach you what ducks to look for in Wyoming, as well as when and where to look for them. It’ll also provide you with some intriguing information.

In Wyoming, six of the state’s thirteen goose species have been discovered, with half of them being uncommon or accidental.

A gaggle is a collection of geese. However, have you heard of geese having names like shien, wedge, and plump?

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

In the United States, it is unlawful to harm geese or their eggs or nests without authorization from the government. The Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is in charge of the animals.

6 Types Of Geese In Wyoming:


1. Canada Goose

Every year, Canada Geese can be found in Wyoming. Bird watchers for the state have reported them on 26% of summer and 17% of winter checklists.

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

Canada Geese have a black head and white chin strap, as well as a long, elegant neck and considerable size, which distinguish them from Cackling Geese.

Their chests and rump are tan or pale, and 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)

As their name would suggest, Canada Geese breed in Canada and migrate for the winter to southern US states, but those in northern US states remain all year and do not migrate. They are also found in western Europe.

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. Western Europe is also home to these creatures.

Canada Geese may be found in almost any habitat. They’re often spotted near lakes and rivers, particularly in places with a lot of food and water. They prefer to dwell in metropolitan settings such as city parks, reservoirs, golf courses, public parks, and beaches. They are also utilized to humans and live nicely in them.

They’ve increased in number, and they’re considered pests in several areas.

While on land, Canada Geese eat grasses and little aquatic insects, while on the water, they eat little aquatic insects and fish. When they’re on agricultural fields, they also eat wheat, rice, and corn. Humans have provided them with food for most of their lives, and trash cans provide them with shelter.

Canada Goose nests are frequently found near water in an elevated area. In a nest constructed of plant material and down, the female may lay up to nine eggs. For about a month, she spends time sitting on the eggs, while the male stays nearby and protects them.

Their parents take them to a feeding source when they emerge, where they acquire self-feeding skills. 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 flight feathers. Just in time for them to fly with their young, they must regrow their feathers after twenty to forty days.

2. Cackling Goose

From September to April, Cackling Geese may be seen in Wyoming, which is a winter bird. Winter checklists include them at a rate of 2%.

North American Cackling Geese resemble Canada Geese and are indigenous to the continent. They were established as a species in 2004, after being previously classified as part of the Canada Goose family.

A white “chinstrap” patch distinguishes Cackling Geese from other geese. They have triangular black bills. They have white on the outside 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 black head and neck of all four subspecies, including the white chinstrap, are distinctive. However, their sizes and colors vary somewhat.

  • 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.

Year-round, you may see Cackling Geese in wetlands and meadows. In the winter, they prefer to mix with other geese in lakes, marshes, and fields, but in the summer, they prefer to remain on the tundra.

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

Cackling Goose nests may be solitary or in groups. They’re generally found near the water, in a shallow depression but on an elevated plateau. Plant materials and down are used by female birds to construct nests. She will incubate up to eight eggs in this nest, which she will lay between August and September.

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

3. Snow Goose

From March to April and October to December, Snow Geese are most frequently spotted in Wyoming during migration. During migration, they may appear in up to 3% of checklists.

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

The Blue Goose, a different variation with a white head and a dark blue-gray body, is also available. Due to their feeding habits, both types of Snow Geese may have a “stained” head on occasion.

Both versions have identical sexes, although they may be of various sizes. In general, men are larger than women.

Juvenile white morphs are dark gray, while juvenile blue morphs are dusky gray-brown. The familiar pink beak and dark grin patch are still visible on both of them.

  • 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, but breed mostly in Canada.

In freshwater marshes and agricultural grain fields, you may find Snow Geese and Blue Geese mingling together. They like salt marshes and coastal bays in the winter, but they’ll also stop by plowed fields or wetlands.

Herbivores and gourmets, snow geese consume a lot of food. Water-logged soil or shallow water is often used to feed them. Plant vegetation, such as grasses, sedges, willows, rushes, and horsetails are their favorite foods. Seeds, grains, and plant roots will also be eaten by them.

On tundra, Snow Goose nests are frequently discovered in huge colonies. Since females return to the location where they hatched to breed, the female creates a nest, which is normally a shallow depression on the ground.

She lines the nest with grasses and down after she has laid the first three to five eggs. Goslings emerge after twenty-four days of incubation and can care for themselves when they hatch.

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

4. Ross’s Goose

In Wyoming, Ross’ geese are considered unusual or accidental species, with recent sightings near Yellowstone Natioanal Park, Dry Lake, and Big Sandy Reservoir in 2022.

Snow Geese, with whom Ross’ geese often flock, are quite similar to Ross’s. Their small, gray-based red-orange beaks, pink-red legs, and feet, as well as black wingtips make them look white all over. The female is somewhat smaller than the male, but both sexes are similar.

Ross’ Goose has a dark phase variation, although it’s incredibly uncommon. It features a white skull, a brownish beak with a crimson patch, black gray 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.

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

Ross’ geese are grazers that feed on grass, sedges, and tiny grains they gather from marshes, meadows, and fields.

Ross’ Geese colonies may be seen on lake islands and in the Arctic tundra, where their nests may be found. Females lay downouts of grasses, moss, leaves, and twigs in the form of nests on the ground. Each breeding female deposits four to five eggs and nurtures them for three weeks.

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

5. Greater White-fronted Goose

In Wyoming, Greater White-fronted Geese are considered a unique or accidental species, but they were observed in the winter of 2021.

White-fronted Goose in Europe and Greater Whitefront in North America are the two names for the same bird.

Greater White-fronted Geese are both big geese, and they look similar in both sexes.

They are frequently confused 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, distinguishes them. 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 in Canada and migrate to the United States and Mexico for the winter in North America. Nonetheless, 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 in their west of northern Canada breeding grounds.

During the breeding season, you may see Greater White-fronted Geese in marshy tundra, wetlands, rivers, and ponds. They hide in agricultural lands, marshes, bays, and lakes throughout the winter.

Both land and water are used 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 forage for aquatic insects and mollusks near water.

In shallow depressions in the tundra, Greater White-fronted Geese nests may be found. They usually house three to six eggs and are covered in grass and down. It takes two to three weeks for the female to incubate them.

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

6. Brant

In Wyoming, Brant Geese are a rare species. They were last seen in 2014 near Natrona and are extremely rare in the state.

A black head, neck, and chest, as well as a white collar or marking on the neck, distinguish the Brant Goose from other geese. Several subspecies exist, with lighter or darker colors, however.

  • 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 may also be found in Europe.

During the breeding season, Brant Geese may be found in tundra, marshlands, islands, and coastal regions. They hide in salt marshes, lagoon, mudflats, and tidal estuaries during the winter.

Both on land and in water, Brant geese feed primarily on plant material. They like eelgrass, but they’ll eat anything. Sedges, pondweed, and underwater insects are also part of their diet.

Brant Goose nests are commonly found on tiny islands in tundra ponds or atop hills. They’re made of down-lined grass bowls.

The female lays up to seven eggs, which take three to four weeks to hatch. The parents bring the juvenile to the eating spot when the eggs hatch, so they may feed themselves.

Fun Fact: Up to 28 years may be spent with Brant Geese.

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