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Canada Goose Branta canadensis


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Canada Goose
credit: Rror/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Anatidae, Ducks and Geese view all from this family

Description ADULT Has black head and neck, and white cheek. Bill and legs are black. Typical birds have gray-brown body plumage, except for white vent and pale breast. Nesters from Alaska and British Columbia ("Dusky" Canada Goose) have uniformly dark reddish brown body plumage, except for white vent. Arctic and boreal nesters are typically smaller than subspecies breeding further south. JUVENILE Similar to adult.

Dimensions Length: 35-45" (89-114 cm)

Habitat Abundant. Favors freshwater marshes, pasture, and farmland.

Observation Tips Easy to observe. Leave subspecies assignment to the experts.

Range Northwest, Plains, Great Lakes, Alaska, Western Canada, Florida, Rocky Mountains, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, Southeast, Eastern Canada, New England, California, Texas

Voice Familiar honking hronk.

Discussion North America's most familiar goose. Several subspecies, separable by size and proportions, are recognized; detailed discussion of these is beyond this book's scope and only extremes are dealt with here. Confusingly, intermediates occur between Canada Goose subspecies and Cackling Goose (formerly part of Canada Goose complex), which has recently been assigned species status. Large Canada Geese are unmistakable, but smallest subspecies are similar in size to largest subspecies of Cackling Goose! Neck length is a good feature for separation: proportionately longer in Canada Goose races than in Cackling Goose.