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A photo of a Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
Canada Goose

Canada Goose

Branta canadensis

The Canada goose (Branta canadensis) is a large wild goose species with a distinctive black head and neck, white cheeks, white under its chin, and a brown body. It is well-known for its black head and neck with a white 'chinstrap' that distinguishes it from all other goose species, except for the cackling goose and barnacle goose.

Identification Tips

Adult Canada geese feature a black head, neck, and bill with a contrasting white cheek and throat patch. Their bodies are largely brown with paler underparts. They have a long neck and a large body relative to other geese. The sexes are similar in appearance, but males are generally larger. Juveniles are duller and lack the white chinstrap.


Canada geese are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including lakes, rivers, ponds, marshes, and estuaries. They thrive in both wild and human-altered environments, often seen in urban parks, golf courses, and agricultural fields.


Native to arctic and temperate regions of North America, Canada geese have a wide distribution that includes much of Canada and the United States. They have also been introduced to parts of Europe, New Zealand, and other regions.


Canada geese are known for their migratory habits, although some populations have become non-migratory. They are social birds, often found in flocks, and exhibit strong territorial behavior. They are also known for their aggressive defense of nesting sites.

Song & Calls

The male's call is a loud honk, while the female emits a shorter, higher-pitched hrink. Canada geese have a variety of vocalizations used for communication, including honks, hisses, and grunts.


Canada geese are monogamous and typically mate for life. They build their nests on the ground near water and the female lays 2-9 eggs. Both parents protect the nest, but the female spends more time incubating the eggs. Goslings are precocial and able to walk, swim, and feed shortly after hatching.

Similar Species

The cackling goose is very similar in appearance but is smaller with a shorter neck and smaller bill. The barnacle goose can be confused with the Canada goose but has a black breast and gray body plumage.

Diet and Feeding

Primarily herbivorous, Canada geese feed on grasses, grains, and aquatic plants. They are known to graze on lawns and agricultural fields, and in water, they may upend to reach submerged vegetation.

Conservation status

The Canada goose is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN. While some local populations may be declining, overall numbers are stable or increasing, and in some areas, they are considered pests due to their adaptability to human environments.

Canada Goose Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Canada Goose Fun Facts

Did you know?
Canadian Geese don't usually breed until their 4th year.
Did you know?
A Canadian Goose's chin-strap plumage is an optical illusian for predators, confusing the outline of the bird.

Canada Geese on Birda


More Ducks, Geese, Swans

A photo of a Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) , male

Mandarin Duck

Aix galericulata
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