Geese belong to 2 main groups, true geese (genus Anser) and Brant geese (Branta). Some taxonomists subdivide geese into additional groups, eg, Hawaiian goose or nene (Nesochen), emperor goose (Philacte) of Alaska, bar-headed goose (Eulabeia) of Tibet and India, or snow goose (Chen). Their taxonomy at the specific and subspecific level is very complicated, especially in the races of the Canada goose and bean goose (Anser fabalis).
The Canada goose may have as many as 50 distinct races and variations, ranging in size from the cackling goose of Alaska (1 kg) to the Canada goose of Manitoba (10 kg); all have the same general pattern of black neck and head with a white throat patch.
Brant geese (B. bernicla) are divided into 4 populations: those from the eastern QUEEN ELIZABETH ISLANDS winter in Ireland; those from the western Queen Elizabeth Islands in Puget Sound and the lower BC mainland; those from the coastal tundra of Nunavut in Baja California, Mexico; and those from FOXE BASIN off the coast of New Jersey.
The greater white-fronted goose (A. albifrons) is circumpolar, breeding in the arctic tundra.
Snow geese (Chen caerulescens) breed in the High Arctic and Ross's geese (C. rossii) in the Low Arctic.
Geese are believed to mate for life. Males are called ganders; juveniles, goslings. Members of various species may nest singly or in colonies. Usually 3-6 eggs are laid (range 2-9) in a nest of plant debris, moss, etc, lined with down. Both parents care for the young.
Author F.G. COOCH
Links to Other Sites
All About Birds
Search this online bird identification guide for information on specific bird species found in North America. Click on the dynamic map of eBird sightings for a magnified view. From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the US.
Canadian Biodiversity Website
A great information source for all budding biologists. Learn about biodiversity theory, natural history, and conservation issues. From McGill’s Redpath Museum.
Ecological Studies and Environmental Monitoring at Bylot Island, Sirmilik National Park
An overview of the Bylot Island research project, one of the largest and longest ecological studies in Nunavut. Beautiful photos of the spectacular landscape and indigenous wildlife. A Laval University website.
Hinterland Who's Who
Check out the extensive "Hinterland Who's Who" website for illustrated "Species Fact Sheets" about mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects found in Canada. Also covers related conservation and biodiversity issues and includes related multimedia and educational resources. From the Canadian Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife Federation.
Bird Studies Canada
The website for “Bird Studies Canada,” an organization dedicated to preserving wild birds and their habitats. Search this site for the latest information on bird sightings and populations, checklists and maps, species at risk, and more.
Abundant Canada geese a menace
A article about the impacts of the exploding growth of North American resident geese populations across Canada. From the Vancouver Sun.
Important Bird Areas in Canada
An extensive database of key facts and maps about bird populations, habitat types, and land use activities associated with Important Bird Areas across Canada. To search the database, click on "IBA database." Then, click on the "Show IBA List" button to see a list of these locations.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...