Size: 22-45" (56-92 cm). The most common goose in North America. Adults have a black head, neck, and bill and white cheek patches. Body gray to brown. Lower belly, upper and lower tail coverts white. Tail and rump black. Great variation in size and neck length between populations.
Similar Species- None in Idaho.
A deep, loud, musical Ha-Honk! Often made in flight with other Canada Geese.
Breeds from northern Alaska, east to Labrador and Greenland, and south to southeastern Canada, California, Utah, and northern Arkansas. Winters from Alaska and southern Canada, south to Florida, Gulf Coast, and northern Mexico. In North America, many introduced non-migratory populations exist within and outside normal range.
Found in various habitats near water, from temperate regions to tundra. During migration and in winter, found on coastal and freshwater marshes, lakes, rivers, and fields. In Idaho, occurs in variety of habitats, including lakes, reservoirs, rivers, farmlands, and city parks.
Grazes on marsh grasses, sprouts of winter wheat in spring, and grains in fall. Eats clover, cattails, bulrushes, algae, pondweed, and other plants. Also eats mollusks and small crustaceans.
Highly social species. Builds nest on ground, usually near water. Feeds in shallows, marshes, and fields. Usually feeds in early morning and late afternoon. May be active day or night during migration. In one study, mean annual survival rate for Rocky Mountain birds banded on neating areas was 53% (immatures) and 64% (adults). Large resident population exist in southern Idaho; during winter, northern migrants are present throughout state. Populations through out state have been enhanced through artificial nest platforms. Species is sometimes considered an agricultural pest. A study initiated by the Idaho Dept. Fish & Game in southwestern Idaho in 1993 is estimating population size and trend and examing factors affecting mortality rates.
Krohn, W.B. and E.G. Bizeau. 1980. The Rocky Mountain population of the western Canada goose: its distribution, habitat and management. USDI Fish and Wildl. Serv. Spec. Sci. Rpt. Wildl. No. 229. 93pp.