The Canada Goose (Branta
canadensis), colloquially Canadian Goose in North America, belongs
to the Branta genus of geese, which contains species with largely
black plumage, distinguishing them from the grey Anser species.
The species name, canadensis, is a New Latin word meaning "of
Canada". The black head and neck with white "chinstrap"
distinguish this goose from all except the Barnacle Goose, but
the latter has a black breast and grey, rather than brownish,
body plumage. There are up to 12 subspecies of this bird, of varying
sizes and plumage details, but all are recognizable as Canada
Geese. The small races, for example B. c. minima, are now considered
in North America to be a separate species, the Cackling Goose,
B. hutchinsonii. The large subspecies, such as the giant Canada
Goose, B. c. maxima remain as Canada Goose. This well-known species
is native to North America.
It breeds in
Canada and the northern USA in a variety of habitats. However,
the nest is usually located in an elevated area near water, sometimes
on a beaver lodge. The eggs are laid in a shallow depression lined
with plant material and down. Males, 8–14 pounds (3.5–6.5
kg), can be very aggressive in defending territory. A pair may
mate for life (around 20 years). The female looks virtually identical
but is slightly lighter (7–12 pounds, 3–5.5 kg), and
has a different honking. Like
most geese it is naturally migratory, the wintering range being
most of the USA. The calls overhead from large groups of Canada
Geese flying in V-shaped formation signal the transitions into
spring and fall. In some areas, migration routes have changed
due to changes in habitat and food sources. In mild climates,
such as the Pacific Northwest, due to a lack of former predators,
some of the population has become non-migratory.
Above Images From The US Fish and Wildlife Service