Emperor Goose

Anser canagicus




Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Creamy white, nest stained.

Number of Eggs:

3 - 8

Incubation Days:

24 - 27

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with grasses.





Emperor Goose: Small goose with slate-gray plumage subtly barred white and black. Head and hindneck are white, foreneck is dark. Bill is short and pink. Tail is white with black undertail coverts. Legs are bright yellow-orange. They have a very different appearance in the spring and are heavily stained. Sexes are similar; female is less plump and has a more stained head; tips of upperpart feathers are tanner. Juvenile is duller, has dark head, neck, bill and legs; barring on back is brown rather than black.

Range and Habitat

Emperor Goose: This species breeds on islands in the Bering Sea and marshy coasts of western Alaska and winters mainly in the Aleutian Islands east to Kodiak Island. Also breeds in Kamchatka, Russia. In winter, this bird may wander as far south as Oregon. Preferred habitats include coasts, mudflats, and coastal tundra.

Breeding and Nesting

Emperor Goose: One to eight eggs are laid in a shallow depression in the ground lined with down and built on an islet in marshy tundra or in driftwood on the coast. Incubation ranges from 14 to 27 days and is carried out by the female. The chicks are capable of walking and swimming within hours after hatching and usually leave the nest on the first day. They fledge at 50 to 60 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Emperor Goose: These geese feed on benthic intertidal invertebrates, vegetation and algals when in marine and estuarine habitats, and eat vegetation when using terrestrial habitats. Their diet includes seaweed, eelgrass, sea lettuce, algae, beach rye, beach pea, sea beach sandwort, grass and sedges, crowberries, mollusks and crustaceans. They forage in salt marshes and tundra meadows.


Emperor Goose: Loud musical notes "kla-ha, kla-ha, kla-ha."

Similar Species

Emperor Goose: Blue phase Snow Goose has entirely white foreneck and chin; also has pink legs and feet.

Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
Also called the jugulum or throat patch, it is located on the front of the neck.
Also called the nape and collar, it is the back of the neck.

Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X