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Snow Goose - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by gophish
Cohoes, New York, United States 5 October, 2012
Anser caerulescens


Adult, blue morph
Photo © by Pauhana
Twin Lakes, Brandon, Florida, United States,
9 December 2012

66–84 cm (26-33 in)

  • Entirely white except black primaries
  • Head and neck usually stained rusty brown
  • Pink bill with grin patch
  • Dark adults have black bodies with white necks and heads, juveniles dark all over. All intermediates possible.

Similar Species

Separating from Ross's Goose - Snow Goose has longer neck and bill. Ross's Goose has short neck and stubby bill that lacks grin patch.


Extreme northern Arctic in summer. Winters in Southern U.S. and Mexico, notably along coasts, but also at inland marshy reserves.


Photo © by Craig Thayer
Green Valley, Arizona, 31 December 2020

Formerly placed in the genus Chen.


There are two recognized subspecies.[1]

  • A. c. caerulescens
    • Breeds and winters around the Pacific Ocean
  • A. c. atlanticus
    • Breeds and winters on land bordering western Atlantic Ocean


Photo © by richard bledsoe
New Mexico, USA, 10 November 2005

Nests on Arctic tundra in large colonies. Migrates southward in winter to marshy areas with adjacent fields.


Highly gregarious; nest, migrate, and forage in large flocks. Noisy, especially on takeoff. Fly in large V formations.


Juvenile, dark morph
Photo © by Stanley Jones
Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, Grayson County, Texas, USA, 17 November 2017

Their diet is mainly vegetarian, consisting of roots, tubers, leaves, grasses, stems and seed heads from a variety of aquatic plants. They also eat grain in the winter time.




  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Mowbray, T. B., F. Cooke, and B. Ganter (2020). Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.snogoo.01
  3. BF Member Observations

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.