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Cackling Goose

Branta hutchinsii ORDER: ANSERIFORMES FAMILY: ANATIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The newly recognized Cackling Goose is a smaller version of the Canada Goose. Formerly considered the smallest subspecies of one variable species, recent work on genetic differences found the four smallest forms to be very different. These four races are now recognized as a full species: the Cackling Goose. It breeds farther northward and westward than does the Canada Goose.

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Appearance

Ducklike
Ducklike
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Medium-sized to small goose.
  • Black head.
  • Bill small and triangular.
  • Long, black neck.
  • White chinstrap.
  • Light tan to brown breast feathers.
  • Brownish back.
  • White undertail.

Immature Description

Juvenile similar to adult.

Range Map Help

Cackling Goose Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

  • Canada Goose nearly identical, but larger, and with proportionately larger bill.
  • The blue form of the Snow Goose has an all-white head.
  • Brant has a dark chest and white limited to the neck, not the cheek.
  • The rare Barnacle Goose has an entirely white face, a black breast, and a gray and black barred back.
  • Canada Goose X domestic goose hybrids have a wide variety of different markings, including extended white on head, red on bill, and red legs.