Canada Goose

Canada Goose

Key facts

Scientific name: Branta canadensis

Status: Resident introduced population

Breeding birds: 62,000 pairs

Wintering birds: 190,000 birds

Conservation status: Introduced 

Family: Ducks, geese & swans

Length: 75 – 110 cm

Wingspan: 130 – 180 cm

Weight: 2.5 – 6.5 kg


Male and female Canada geese look similar with breast, belly and flanks ranging in light grey to dark chocolate brown. The back is darker brown and the tail is blackish-brown with a white band on the rump.

Both sexes have a black head and neck except for white cheek patches and throat patch. There are several subspecies of Canada goose which have variations in size and plumage.

Juvenile Canada geese are duller in colour while young goslings are an olive-brown colour with a darker crown.


Canada geese build their nests on the ground near water and may use unoccupied nests of other birds. The nest is bowl shaped and lined with grass, twigs, leaves and goose down.

They lay 4-6 creamy white eggs which are incubated for 25-30 days. Just a few hours after the eggs have hatched the goslings will leave nest and learn how to swim.


Canada geese will graze on land or will reach for submerged aquatic vegetation using their long necks.

They will eat pondweed, sedge, grass, seeds and grains and occasionally insects, snails and tadpoles.

Canada Goose

Where to see them

Canada geese can be found all over the UK except for the very North of Scotland, around lakes, ponds and in parks.


Aidan Place/xeno-canto

Did you know?

Canada geese pick mates of a similar size, a pattern biologists call “assortative mating”.

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