Snow Goose

Chen caerulescens

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

SNGO

Code 6

CHECAE

ITIS

Egg Color:

White, nest stained.



Number of Eggs:

3 - 5



Incubation Days:

23 - 25



Egg Incubator:

Female



Nest Location:

On ground.



Nest Material:

Lined with grasses and down.



Migration:

Migratory



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General

Snow Goose: Large goose with two color morphs. White morph is all white with black wing tips. Blue morph has white head and neck, blue-gray upperparts, gray-brown breast and sides and white belly. Bill is pink with black lower mandible. Legs and feet are pink. Sexes are similar; male is slightly larger. Juveniles of white morph have mottled gray head and neck, ashy-brown back and scapulars with white edging; bill and legs are dusky. Blue morph lacks white on head and neck and have darker gray or blue feathering.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Snow Goose: Three to five white eggs are laid in a ground nest sparsely lined with down; nests in colonies on tundra. Incubation ranges from 23 to 25 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Snow Goose: Their diet consists of seeds, stems, leaves, rhizomes, stolons, grasses, sedges, rushes and other aquatic plants, grains, young leafy stems of various agricultural crops, stems of horsetails, a variety of berries, salt grass, wild millet and wild rice. They are intensive foragers. They prefer to feed in water-logged soil or shallow water.

Vocalization

Snow Goose: Emits a high-pitched, barking "bow-wow" or "howk-howk."

Similar Species

Snow Goose: Domesticated barnyard goose lacks black primaries and usually has orange bill. Ross's Goose is smaller with stubbier, entirely pink bill; juvenile is paler than juvenile Snow Goose.

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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.
ScapularsX
Short feathers in the area where the bird’s back and wings join.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X