Cackling Goose

(Branta Hutchinsii)

Appearance: - The Cackling Goose is very similar in appearance to the Canada Goose and it can be very hard to tell the two apart. Generally the Cackling Goose is smaller although the various sub-species do vary in size, the beak appears to be more stubby, the neck is slightly shorter, and their call is higher pitched. It has a black head and neck with a white chinstrap, light-brown breast, sometimes a white neck-ring, a grey-brown back, underparts from belly to tail are whitish, and the stubby beak and legs are black. Both sexes are alike with the male usually slightly larger.

Size: - Typical Adult is 56-76cm (22-30in).

Food: - Mostly grasses, seeds, aquatic plants, crops, and grain. Will also eat insects, molluscs and crustaceans.

Habitat/Range: - Tundra, streams, coastal marshes, floodplains, and will graze in agricultural fields in winter. Native to North America, it breeds in Canada and Alaska (further north than the Canada Goose), and the Aleutian Islands, and winters further south, mainly in western USA, northern Mexico, and occasionally in eastern China, Japan, and eastern Siberia.

Cackling Goose Map
Breeding Habitat/Resident,    Migration or Winter Area.

Breeding Season: - April to June.

Eggs: - 2 to 8 (creamy white).

Notes: - The Cackling Goose belongs to the Branta genus (Black Geese) and is native to North America. The Cackling Goose was thought to be the same species or a sub-species of the Canada Goose but from July 2004 is now considered to be a different species by the American Ornithologists' Union's (AOU) Committee on Classification. There are several sub-species of the Cackling Goose including the Richardson's Cackling Goose, Aleutian Cackling Goose, Small Cackling Goose, Taverner's Cackling Goose, and Bering Cackling Goose. The distinctions between the Cackling Goose and the Canada Goose have led to a great deal of confusion and debate among ornithologists.

Conservation status (IUCN 3.1):
  Least Concern.  

Classification: - Family: Anatidae,
Subfamily: Anserinae, Genus: Branta.

Compare with other Geese species.

Compare Black Geese (Branta) species.

Cackling Goose Call:


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Cackling Goose
Cackling Goose (Branta Hutchinsii) - Image: Wikimedia Commons