Snow Goose

Chen caerulescens

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

SNGO

Code 6

CHECAE

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Snow Goose prefers breeding ranges in northern Canada and northeastern Siberia. During the winter months, these birds migrate southward to the southern United States. This species is rarely found in Europe and the British Isles. Breeding pairs typically mate for life, and females return to their birthplace to breed. Nests are shallow scrapes on high ground, and colonies are formed during nesting periods. This species feeds on grains left in cultivated fields, and does so in flocks. Populations of the bird reduced in numbers at the beginning of the century, but have since recovered. The conservation rating for this bird is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Snow Goose: Large goose with two color phases. White phase is all white with black wing tips. Blue phase has white head and neck, blue-gray upperparts, gray-brown breast and sides, white belly. Pink bill, black lower mandible. Pink legs, feet. Strong direct flight in bunched flocks or U formations.


Range and Habitat

Snow Goose: Breeds in the Arctic regions of North America and eastern Siberia. In the west, winters on the Pacific coast from southern British Columbia to Baja California; also mid-Atlantic coast and the Gulf Coast from Mississippi to Texas. Breeds on tundra; wintering habitats include salt marshes and marshy coastal bays and also freshwater marshes and grain fields.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"bow-wow", "honk-honk"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • During migration the Snow Goose flies so high it can barely be seen. They form shifting curved lines and arcs as they fly.
  • During the summer their heads’ are often stained red as a result of gathering food in mud containing iron oxides.
  • Hunters call these birds “Wavies.” The name in derived from the Chippewa name for this bird, wewe.
  • A group of geese has many collective nouns, including a "blizzard", "chevron", "knot", "plump", and "string" of geese.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Snow Goose

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X