Return to Easily Identify Geese   

Emperor Goose

Anser (Chen) canagica

Geese Family

Waterfowl Identification

Emperor Goose

Similar Waterfowl:
None
Description:
Male and female emperor geese have gray body plumage that is subtly barred with black and white. The white head and hindneck, which are often stained orange-red from feeding in tidal ponds where iron oxide is concentrated, contrast markedly with the dark fore neck. Contrast distinguishes this goose from the blue-morph snow goose whose entire fore neck and chin are white like the head. The short bill is pink and lacks the black "grinning patch" present in blue geese. The legs and feet of the emperor goose are yellow-orange, while those of the blue goose are pink.
Typical Size:
The male and female average 27 inches in length and 6 pounds in weight. Their wingspan can reach 51 inches.
Habitat:
Emperor geese prefer the habitats of banks along sloughs and rivers, elevated shorelines, marsh hummocks, flat grasslands, raised scour blocks, peninsulas, and islands.
Breeding:
Over 80% of the world's population of emperor geese breeds along the western coast of Alaska from Kuskokwim Bay to Kotzebue Sound and on St. Lawrence and Nunivak Islands and lay an average of 5 eggs.
Diet:
Emperor geese feed on seaweed, eelgrass, sea lettuce, algae, beach rye, beach pea, seabeach sandwort, grasses and sedges, crowberries, and mollusks and crustaceans found in intertidal areas, salt marshes and tundra meadows.
Migration:
Most of the world's population of emperor geese winters along the Aleutian Islands, with fewer numbers along the south coast of the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak and Afognak Islands. In mild winters, some birds winter along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska and Cook Inlet. In some winters small numbers occur in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and occasionally northern California.
Flyway Patterns:
The emperor goose is most commonly found in the Pacific flyway.
Flight Formation:
Small low flying flocks usually flying abreast with rapid wing beats. Flight speeds are around 70 MPH.
Voice:
Both males and females have a shrill KLA-HA, KLA-HA, KLA-HA.