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23 Types of Geese Breeds: An Overview (with Pictures)

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geese walking on grass

When you think of a goose, you might have a traditional species in mind depending on where you live on the globe. They inhabit practically every area on earth except Antarctica—and each one has some pretty interesting physical attributes.

Here are 23 geese breeds with explanations of what each one is all about.

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The 23 Types of Geese Breeds:

1. African Geese

two african geese by the water
Image Credit: Uschi Dugulin, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Cygnoides domesticus
Origin: China
Appearance: Brown
Weight: 18 – 20 pounds
Height: 3 feet
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years

Despite its name, the African goose is a domestic breed thought to come from China. These geese are derived from the wild swan but look significantly different now. These birds are heavy with muscular bodies, making them ideal table birds. These birds are often used for roasting.

Many keepers prefer this goose because it is very hardy and resilient in extreme weather. You can have them in virtually any farm setting as long as they have adequate fresh food and water supply.

2. American Buff Geese

American Buff Geese
Image Credit: Taija Luce, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Anser anser domesticus
Origin: United States
Appearance: Buff
Weight: 20 pounds
Height: 3 feet
Lifespan: 15 – 20 years

Recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1947, the American buff goose is a US native. This traditional-looking farm goose comes in shades between fawn and apricot—hence the name. This dual-purpose bird is prized for both meat and egg production.

3. Andean Geese

Andean Goose Chloephaga melanoptera
Andean Goose (Chloephaga melanoptera) RWD (Image Credit: Dick Daniels, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 3.0 Unported)
Scientific Name: Chloephaga melanoptera
Origin: South America
Appearance: Black and white
Weight: 6 – 7 pounds
Height: 27.5 – 31.5 inches
Lifespan: 10+ years

The Andean goose is a chunky little black and white bird that lives in bogs and on lakeshores. They have distinguishing pink legs and short beaks, so they are quite recognizable in their native regions. Contrary to what you might think, these birds are terrestrial and don’t enjoy swimming.

Even though Andean geese are not dimorphic, they do make noticeably different noises. Males make whistling sounds while females grunt—so tones are much lower.

4. Ashy-Headed Geese

Ashy Headed Geese Chloephaga poliocephala Patagonia
Chloephaga poliocephala -Patagonia-8 (Image Credit: Alex Proimos, Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic)
Scientific Name: Chloephaga poliocephala
Origin: South America
Appearance: Brown, black, white
Weight: 4 – 5 pounds
Height: 20 – 22 inches
Lifespan: 10 – 25 years

The strangely beautiful ashy-headed goose is native to parts of South America.

The strangely beautiful ashy-headed goose is native to parts of South America. These geese are considered sheldgoose, living in pairs or small groups across wetlands, lakes, and gentle rivers. These geese are typically found in areas of Chile and Southern Argentina.

These geese might be called ashy-headed, but you might immediately notice the bright rusty color around the neck and zebra-striped pattern on the wings. These geese truly are a beautiful sight to see.

5. Bar-Headed Geese

Bar Headed Geese
Image Credit: WikimediaImages, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Anser indicus
Origin: Asia
Appearance: Brown and white
Weight: 4 – 7 pounds
Height: 26 – 28 inches
Lifespan: 15 years

Bar-headed geese are large Asian birds with beautifully intricate markings. They spend their time in Central Asia in the summer months, flying south to India during the winters. Unlike some geese species, these waterfowl are particularly mild-tempered.

Bar-headed geese are especially talented flyers. They’re practically famous for their extreme altitudes in the Himalayas and Tibet. They can fly up to 7,270—which is astonishing.

6. Barnacle Geese

Barnacle geese
Image Credit: pevank01, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Branta leucopsis
Origin: Arctic, North Atlantic
Appearance: Gray, black
Weight: 3 – 4 pounds
Height: 22 – 28 inches
Lifespan: 25 years

The lovely barnacle goose, not to be confused with goose barnacles, is a large black and gray goose from the world’s colder regions. These geese inhabit coastal regions and salt marshes. While they’re mostly vegetarian, they will eat some mollusks, crustaceans, and insects.

During warmer months, the barnacle goose hangs out with a large flock that creates quite a symphony. They are quite social birds who get along with each other and don’t mind people too much.

7. Bean Geese

Bean Geese
Image Credit: ArtTower, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Anser fabalis
Origin: Europe, Asia
Appearance: Tan, black
Weight: 6 pounds
Height: 27 – 35 inches
Lifespan: 25 years

Bean geese are naturally found in Europe and Asia—two of which are distinctly different—one living in the tundra, one living in taiga. Unlike many geese, these birds are strict vegetarians, feasting on plant material like grasses, seeds, and tubers.

The bean goose is a pretty standard-looking fellow, lightly colored in neutrals with black on the tail. They are generally relaxed and pleasant.

8. Blue-Winged Geese

Blue winged Goose cyanochen cyanopterus
Blue-winged Goose (Cyanochen cyanopterus) (Image Credit: Ken Billington, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 3.0 Unported)
Scientific Name: Cyanochen cyanoptera
Origin: Ethiopia
Appearance: Tan, blue, black
Weight: 5 – 6 pounds
Height: 25 – 29 inches
Lifespan: 15 years

Blue-winged geese are native to Ethiopia, lounging on the banks and highlands of lakes. These birds are primarily herbivorous but will resort to eating small insects and larvae. This species is thought to be declining in its natural habitat.

The blue-winged goose gets its name, as you can imagine, from the dusty blue part on its hindquarters. They are otherwise light brown and tall with neutral markings. Both sexes are the same color, but males are generally larger than their female counterparts.

9. Brent Geese

Brent Goose
Brent Goose (Image Credit: Andreas Trepte, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 2.5 Generic)
Scientific Name: Branta bernicla
Origin: Siberia, Europe
Appearance: Bold chocolate, brown
Weight: 2.5 – 3.5 pounds
Height: 22 – 26 inches
Lifespan: 12 – 27 years

Brants are unique small geese that are a similar size to a standard duck. These chocolate-colored geese have a mechanism in their mouths that allows them to swallow saltwater, so they rarely ever trail away from salt marshes and estuaries.

Brant’s are real migratory achievers. These flocks can fly up to 3,000 miles in one trip. After such a journey, these birds take a while to revamp their body weight and recover from the calorie loss, but many of them manage it every year.

10. Canada Geese

Canada geese by the lake
Image Credit: MOHANN, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Branta candadensis
Origin: North America, Europe
Appearance: Black, brown, cream
Weight: 5.5 – 14 pounds
Height: 30 – 43 inches
Lifespan: 10 – 20 years

Canada geese love flocking in large groups and hanging out by a still water source like a pond or lake. You can find these geese simply riddled all over North America and occasionally in Europe during migration. Many of these birds travel in bloodlines and families.

Canada geese hold records for potentially being the meanest of all geese. These beauties might be lovely, but look and don’t get close—especially not during the breeding season. The males can get super territorial and aggressive.

11. Cape Barren (Coreopsis) Geese

Cape Barren Goose
Image Credit: Nel_Botha-NZ, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Coreopsis novaehollandiae
Origin: Australia
Appearance: Dusty tan to gray
Weight: 7 – 15 pounds
Height: 30 – 40 inches
Lifespan: 20 years

The cape barren is a stunningly large goose with an ashy feathering. Unlike many of their goose cousins, cape barrens are herbivores, feasting only on native plants and local green favorites.

Large but elegant, these geese have sizable bodies with a confident stride. Their heads are narrow, making it look as though the head might be too small for the rest of the body—but it adds to the beauty and charm of the breed.

12. Chinese Geese

Chinese Geese Swimming
Image Credit: Camera-man, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Anser cygnoides
Origin: China
Appearance: Brown, white
Weight: 11 –  20 pounds
Height: 24 – 36 inche
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years

The Chinese goose is a domestic breed from China that has a captivating appearance. Unlike many geese, these birds are master layers, producing up to 100 eggs per year.

The Chinese goose is a really cool waterfowl, getting up to three feet tall and sporting a huge bump on its beak. They are traditionally similar to all the anser anser, or domesticated geese, ranging from white to various shades of brown.

13. Roman Tufted Geese

Roman Tufted Goose
Roman Tufted Goose (Image Credit: Joe Thomissen, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 3.0 Unported)
Scientific Name: Anser anser
Origin: Domestic
Appearance: White
Weight: 6.5 – 7.5 pounds
Height: 12 – 14 inches
Lifespan: 25 years

The Roman tufted goose, or crested duck, has a unique appearance, touting a cotton ball-like fluff on their crown. Originally, this significant breed feature was a deformity in the bloodline that was expanded upon.

These geese are docile and calm with agreeable personalities. They tend to be fragile but otherwise easy to keep. They are pretty exceptional layers, too—numbers up to 130 annually.

14. Egyptian Geese

egyptian geese mates for life near pond
Image Credit: Dossyl, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Alopochen aegyptiaca
Origin: Africa
Appearance: Auburn, brown
Weight: 3.3 – 5 pounds
Height: 25 – 28 inches
Lifespan: 15 – 20 years

Egyptian geese are inhabitants of grasslands and open water across Africa. It isn’t unusual to see them occupy ornamental ponds or populated lakes. These birds enjoy lots of plant material, as they are predominantly herbivorous.

These birds are decently large, slender, and graceful with long, pink legs. During mating season, the males can get highly aggressive, so it’s best to stay away.

15. Emperor Geese

Emperor Goose
Emperor Goose SMTC4 (Image Credit: SandyCole, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 3.0 Unported)
Scientific Name: Anatidae canagicus
Origin: Russia/Alaska
Appearance: Black, gray
Weight: 4 – 5 pounds
Height: 26 – 28 inches
Lifespan: 6 – 12 years

The emperor goose absolutely loves chilly weather, inhabiting many arctic and subarctic areas of the Bering Sea. They enjoy freshwater pools and other slow or still water sources.

The emperor goose is a bird that stands out from the crowd with bright yellow legs, a black and white patterned body, and a snow-white neck and head. Unfortunately, goslings have a very high mortality rate due to local predators.

16. Greylag Geese

greylag geese
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Anser anser
Origin: Europe
Appearance: Ash gray, black
Weight: 7 – 9 pounds
Height: 29 – 36 inches
Lifespan: 20 – 30 years

Greylag geese are an ancient breed of domesticated goose, predating 1360 BC. These historically famous birds are even featured in old Egyptian paintings showing off their pink legs. These geese usually eat both land and aquatic plant matter.

The graylag goose is ashy gray with black bands and white tips. They have bright orange beaks and pink legs to contrast their feathering.

17. Kelp Geese

Kelp Goose
Kelp Goose SOARA (Image Credit: 3HEADEDDOG, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 3.0 Unported)
Scientific Name: Chloephaga hybrida
Origin: South America
Appearance: White, black, gray
Weight: 7 – 8 pounds
Height: 22 – 26 inches
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years

Hailing from South America, the kelp goose is a very recognizable specimen. It has an odd shape, almost like a large pigeon. These interesting little waterfowl live along rocky coasts and freshwater lakes.

18. Magpie Geese

magpie geese
Image Credit: Patjosse, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Anseranas semipalmata
Origin: Australia
Appearance: Black, white
Weight: 6 – 7 pounds
Height: 30 – 35 inches
Lifespan: 20 years

The magpie goose is a highly peculiar and lovely bird, native to Australia. These birds are wanderers at heart, often caught outside of their typical parameters after breeding season. These birds are relatively common in the land down under.

These waterfowl have long, upright bodies with crane-like heads. They sport lovely sun-kissed coloring and have long, powerful legs to travel through wading water.

19. Nene/Hawaiian Geese

Nene or Hawaiian Geese
Image Credit: caromia333, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Branta sandvincensis
Origin: Hawaii
Appearance: Brown, tan, black
Weight: 3 – 6 pounds
Height: 15 – 16 inches
Lifespan: 8 – 20 years

The nene is a medium-sized goose found in Hawaii. These social geese aren’t shy—as they inhabit untouched land and human-made alike. They prefer living in grasslands, shrublands, and lava plains—but they also take advantage of farmland resources.

The nene often sports shades of brown with a distinct black head and eyes. These birds have powerful bodies and are shaped much like their Canada geese cousins, only smaller.

20. Pink-Footed Geese

Pink Footed Geese
Image Credit: Kasman, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Anser brachyrhynchus
Origin: Europe
Appearance: Tan, white
Weight: 5 – 6 pounds
Height: 24 – 30 inches
Lifespan: 20 years

As the name would imply, these birds are named after their pink feet. The pink-footed goose is incredibly rare and lovely, scattered all over Europe in areas like Greenland, Denmark, Iceland, and Svalbard.

The pink-footed goose is often mistaken for the graylag, as they look incredibly similar. However, the graylag is domesticated, and the pink-footed goose is not.

21. Red-Breasted Geese

Red Breasted Geese
Image Credit: Stevebidmead, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Branta rufficollis
Origin: Eurasia
Appearance: Chestnut, black, white
Weight: 3 – 4 pounds
Height: 20 – 22 inches
Lifespan: 15 years

The red-breasted goose is a highly versatile waterfowl living in grasslands, wetlands, coastal plains, and terrestrial areas in Eurasia. These geese are vegetarians, snacking on local grass leaves, cotton grass, winter wheat, and herbs.

The red-breasted goose is thought of as one of the prettiest geese species of all. They have deep chestnut-colored heads, black and white feathering that is super sleek and shiny.

22. Sebastopol Geese

White Sebastopol Goose
White Sebastopol Goose (Image Credit: Davee, Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic)
Scientific Name: Anser anser
Origin: Domesticated
Appearance: White
Weight: 12-14 pounds
Height: 30-32 inches
Lifespan: 25 years

The Sebastapol goose is a domesticated breed of waterfowl that was created for its spectacular appearance. These angelic geese have free-flowing wispy white feathers and heavy bodies with bright blue eyes.

They are lovely to have on the farm and they tend to be quite cold hardy. They are purely ornamental, but they lay up to 30 large white eggs per year. This breed is exceptionally rare.

23. Snow Geese

Snow Geese
Image Credit: Veronika_Andrews, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Chen
Origin: Canada
Appearance: White, black
Weight: 4 – 6 pounds
Height: 25 – 33 inches
Lifespan: 6 – 15 years

The snow goose is a lovely waterfowl that build colonies in Canada and Alaska. These geese love the arctic tundra, spending their time in saltwater marshes and bays. These geese are herbivores finding most of their nutrients in water-logged areas.

This goose is small with sleek white feathers and black on the tail. Their beak and legs are orange and their bodies are proportionate. There is both a greater and lesser snow goose that differ slightly in body makeup, but not to the untrained eye.

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That’s not all—there are many more waterfowl unexplored. As you can see, there is so much variety spanning out across the globe in just one species. These water lovers are generally monogamous and typically quite aggressive to anyone threatening their families.

Next time you’re at a local pond, you might try spotting one of these remarkable species out in the area you live.

Featured Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

About the Author Ashley Bates

Ashley Bates is animal writer and enthusiast who is currently studying the art of animal therapy. A mother to four human children— and 23 furry and feathery kids, too – Ashley volunteers at local shelters, advocates for animal well-being, and rescues every creature she finds. Ashley's mission is to create awareness and education about animals of all shapes and sizes to promote proper care and respect.