Branta canadensis

Description

Canada Goose have a black head and neck with a white "chinstrap" which distinguishes the Canada Goose from all other goose species. There are seven subspecies of this bird, of varying sizes and plumage details, but all are recognisable as Canada Geese. Some of the smaller races can be hard to distinguish from the newly-separated Cackling Goose.

Distribution

This species is native to North America. It breeds in Canada and the northern United States in a variety of habitats.

Lifespan

The Canada Goose can live for up to 10 - 24 years in the wild.

Size

The size of the Canada Goose is 76 - 110 centimetres long with a 127 - 180 centimetres wingspan. The male usually weighs 3.2 - 6.5 kg, and can be very hostile in defending his territory. The female looks almost identical but is slightly lighter at 2.5 - 5.5 kg generally 10% smaller than its male counterpart, and has a different honk.

Diet

Canada Geese are herbivores although they sometimes eat small insects and fish. Their diet includes green vegetation and grains. The Canada Goose also eats a variety of grasses when on land.

Habitat

The Canada Goose inhabits dense grasslands, streams, lakes and ponds.

Breeding

During the second year of their lives, Canada Geese find a mate. They are monogamous, and most couples stay together all of their lives. The female will produce from 2 - 9 eggs on an elevated area near water such as streams, lakes and ponds. The nest will be in a shallow depression lined with plant material and down. The incubation period, in which the female incubates while the male remains nearby, lasts for 24 - 28 days after laying.