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Canadian Geese: Field Guide, Pictures, Habitat & Info

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Canadian Geese Night

The Canadian goose is a common breed of goose that you can find all across the United States. It has a striking appearance, so even beginners can often identify it easily. If you would like to learn more about the Canadian goose so you can find it in nature, keep reading as we talk about its habitat, diet, behavior, and appearance, so you can have more success out in the field. 

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Quick Facts About Canadian Geese

Habitat Near water
Diet Herbs, grain, small insects
Behavior Communal
Nesting Females lay 2–9 eggs
Conservation Least concern
Scientific name Branta canadensis
Lifespan: 10–24 years

Canadian Geese General Description

The Canadian goose is a large bird with a black head and neck. The cheeks are white, as is the chin, which helps it stand out and be easy to identify, especially when it’s in the air. The back feathers are light brown or tan, and there’s a white patch on the rump. They can grow as long as 43 inches from head to toe, and the wingspan can reach 73 inches.

Canadian Geese
Image Credit: pervaiziq, Shutterstock

Canadian Geese Range, Habitat, Behavior, Diet & Nesting


The Canadian goose is native to North America, and you can find it all year in the northern states across the country. Many of the birds fly to Canada during the summer to breed, while some will travel south in winter in search of warmer weather.


You can find Canadian geese anywhere within their range, as they are not too fussy. They like to stay close to the water from a lake, river, pond, or creek. These birds are even comfortable visiting lawns and parks.


Canadian geese feed by dabbling, which means they continue to float while putting their head underwater to scrounge for vegetation and worms. They prefer to stay in groups, and when they fly, they usually assume a large V formation.

Canadian Geese
Image Credit: Elsemargriet , Pixabay


The Canadian goose will typically eat aquatic plants and insects while floating on the surface of a pond or lake. If food is hard to find, it will venture on land to eat grass and grain.


A Canadian goose will look for a mate when it reaches 2 years old. It’s usually monogamous, but it will find a new mate if the current one dies. The female will lay two to nine eggs in a slight depression on elevated land, and both parents will incubate, though the female typically spends more time on the nest. Goslings will hatch in 24 to 28 days and can immediately walk and swim in search of food, but the parents will still need to protect them from predators for a while.hummingbird divider

How to Find Canadian Geese: Birdwatching Tips

What to Listen For

When in search of a Canadian goose, listen for a short repeating quack that can be quite loud depending on how close you are. You will also likely hear the sound coming from more than one spot, as these birds tend to form small groups.

Canadian Geese Flly
Image Credit: TheOtherKev, Pixabay

What to Look For

It’s easy to see a Canadian goose from a distance because of its black head and long neck. It also has a white patch on its cheeks and chin. These birds usually assume a V formation when in groups, making them even easier to identify.

When to Look

If you live in one of the northern states, you can find a Canadian goose anytime by searching waterways and fields. Southern states can start looking for these birds in late fall and winter. Birdwatchers who live in Canada will have the best luck during the summer, as the birds are there to breed.hummingbird divider

Attracting Canadian Geese to Your Backyard: Tips & Tricks

  • Learning how to use a duck call can be a great way to invite a Canadian goose to your property, especially if you have a large amount of land with a small pond or stream.
  • A duck decoy can also effectively lure a Canadian goose to your property, especially if you use it along with a duck call.
Flying Canadian
Image Credit: Geese_Gordo25, Shutterstock

Canadian Geese Conservation: Is this Bird Threatened?

The Canadian goose is currently not on any endangered or threatened species lists.

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The Canadian goose is an amazing bird that’s easy to find in the wilderness due to its large size, long black neck and head, and white patch over the chin and cheeks. It’s available all year in the northern United States, and you can also find it easily in Canada during the summer or in the South during the winter. It typically spends its time floating in a pond or lake or searching the land for food. It forms an easy-to-recognize V shape when it takes flight with other birds in its community.

Featured Image Credit: kawasaki9r, Pixabay

About the Author Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who contributes to a wide range of blogs covering information on computer programming, pets, birding, tools, fitness, guitars, and optics. Outside of writing, Ed is often found working in the garden or performing DIY projects in the house. Ed is also a musician, spending his time composing music for independent films or helping people repair their guitars.