Bird’s ID – Canada Goose

Canada Goose


The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) is a large wild goose species with a black head and neck, white cheeks, white under its chin, and a brown body. Native to arctic and temperate regions of North America, its migration occasionally reaches northern Europe. It has been introduced to the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands.  Like most geese, the Canada goose is primarily herbivorous and normally migratory; it tends to be found on or close to fresh water.

Extremely successful at living in human-altered areas, Canada geese have proven able to establish breeding colonies in urban and cultivated areas, which provide food and few natural predators. The success of this common park species has led to its often being considered a pest species because of their depredation of crops and their noise, droppings, aggressive territorial behavior, and habit of begging for food (caused by human hand feeding).

Canada geese range from 75 to 110 cm (30 to 43 in) in length and have a 127–185 cm (50–73 in) wingspan. Among standard measurements, the wing chord can range from 39 to 55 cm (15 to 22 in), the tarsus can range from 6.9 to 10.6 cm (2.7 to 4.2 in) and the bill can range from 4.1 to 6.8 cm (1.6 to 2.7 in). The largest subspecies is the B. c. maxima, or the giant Canada goose, and the smallest (with the separation of the cackling goose group) is B. c. parvipes, or the lesser Canada goose.  An exceptionally large male of race B. c. maxima, which rarely exceed 8 kg (18 lb), weighed 10.9 kg (24 lb) and had a wingspan of 2.24 m (7.3 ft). This specimen is the largest wild goose ever recorded of any species.

The male Canada goose usually weighs 2.6–6.5 kg (5.7–14.3 lb), averaging amongst all subspecies 3.9 kg (8.6 lb). The female looks virtually identical, but is slightly lighter at 2.4–5.5 kg (5.3–12.1 lb), averaging amongst all subspecies 3.6 kg (7.9 lb), and generally 10% smaller in linear dimensions than the male counterparts. The female also possesses a different, and less sonorous, honk than the male.

Canada geese are primarily herbivores,  although they sometimes eat small insects and fish. Their diet includes green vegetation and grains. The Canada goose eats a variety of grasses when on land. It feeds by grasping a blade of grass with the bill, then tearing it with a jerk of the head. The Canada goose also eats beans and grains such as wheat, rice, and corn when they are available. In the water, it feeds from aquatic plants by sliding its bill at the bottom of the body of water. It also feeds on aquatic plants, such as seaweeds. In urban areas, it is also known to pick food out of garbage bins. They are also sometimes hand-fed a variety of grains and other foods by humans in parks.


Photo Gallery



© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

9 thoughts on “Bird’s ID – Canada Goose

  1. Great photos HJ. These birds have become somewhat of a pest in Britain as they breed so well and are quite aggressive to other native birds. I do hope they do not get into our country, as we are currently suffering from introduction of the Greylag Goose and the large Mallard duck which are becoming competitive with our smaller ducks. We only have two species of native geese and they mainly in habit the top and bottom areas of our large continent, but the larger part is very vulnerable to these introduced species.

    • I believe it’s going to be a matter of time that this kind of birds will get in Australia. They are already in New Zealand. Yes, you’re right, they become pests after they find places where to forage and will not stop until is totally gone, leaving the bare soil covered with droppings! They are enormous birds. Thank you for sharing my friend. 🙂

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