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 Snow Goose
Common Name:

Snow Goose

Scientific Name:

Chen caerulescens

Unique Qualities:

The Snow goose is the noisiest of all geese; it has a shrill honk that can be heard long before it flies into view. Families of Snow geese stick together through the first winter of the year after the young are born. Families travel together on both the southbound and northbound migrations, separating only after they return to their arctic breeding grounds. Family groups can easily be seen in migrating and wintering flocks.

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Can be Seen:

During the summer, Snow geese can be seen in scattered colonies north of the tree line in northern Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland and northeastern Siberia. In the winter, they can be seen on the East and West Coasts of the United States. They can also be seen in lesser numbers in Mexico.

Likes to Hang Out:

The Snow goose likes to hang out in the subarctic and arctic tundra near ponds or streams. In the winter, the Snow goose hangs out in coastal marshes and bays, ponds, lakes, wet grasslands, freshwater marshes, and cultivated fields.

Likes to Eat:

The adult Snow goose is entirely vegetarian. It likes to eat a variety of plant species and parts, from aquatic plants to grasses and grains. Its food changes depending on the season and availability. When they are young, Snow geese sometimes eat insects.


Populations have been growing in most parts of its range. Some colonies are becoming so large that the geese are destroying nesting habitat, and hunting is proposed to decrease the populations. Snow goose hunting in the eastern United States was stopped in 1916 because of low population levels. Hunting was allowed again in 1975 after populations had increased.

I live in the North! Meet my neighbours.

Map credit: The tundra swan habitat map is Copyright Earth Day Canada and uses a map by Planiglobe. The original map is licensed under a Creative Commons Attibution 2.5 license.

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