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Canada Goose

Branta canadensis

Geese Family

Waterfowl Identification

Canada Goose

Similar Waterfowl:
None
Description:
Both sexes of Canada geese have a black head and neck except for broad white cheek patches extending from the throat to the rear of the eye. The female of a breeding pair is often smaller. The breast, abdomen, and flanks range in coloring from a light gray to a dark chocolate brown, either blending into the black neck or being separated from it by a wide white collar. The back and scapulars are darker brown, the rump is blackish, and the tail is blackish brown with U-shaped white band on rump. The bill, legs, and feet are black.
Typical Size:
The male and female average 36 inches in length and weigh 9 pounds. They have a wingspan of 66 inches.
Habitat:
The Canada goose has varied habitats ranging from semi-desert, to temperate rainforest, to arctic tundra areas.
Breeding:
Canada geese exhibit very strong family and pair bonds. They tend to return to their natal homes to nest. There are 11 recognized subspecies of Canada geese that nest across North America. Female Canada geese lay an average of 4 to 6 eggs.
Diet:
The Canada goose will make extensive use of agricultural fields found adjacent to wetland areas.
Migration:
Wintering habitat for Canada geese is slightly less diverse than breeding habitat. In eastern North America, grain producing agricultural lands adjacent to estuarine or salt-water marshes with bulrush and cordgrass provide ideal winter habitat in the form of food and protection. In the Midwestern United States, refuges with fresh-water marshes and abundant food crops attract increasing numbers of Canada geese that previously had migrated to the Gulf Coast.
Flyway Patterns:
The majority of the Canada goose will use the Mississippi flyway while some have become non migratory in the Pacific northwest due to the temperate climate.
Flight Formation:
High flying flocks in "V's" or irregular lines. Wing beats are deep and powerful. Flight speeds can reach 70 MPH.
Voice:
Both males and females have a deep resonant HONK.