Small and compact with a short neck, small bill, and steep forehead. Head and neck are black with a large white cheek patch. Some have a thin white necklace.
Variable head shape, with some showing a flat head. Extent of white necklace also varies.
Small goose best identified by head shape: note short bill and fairly abrupt transition to steep forehead.
The "minima" form has a darker brown body and less contrast with the neck. Some birds lack the white necklace and have a rounded head shape.
The Taverner's form has a longer neck and paler brown body, tending towards the shape of a Canada Goose.
In flight shows a prominent white "U" on the dark uppertail, contrasting with the black tail. Otherwise mostly brown with black neck and head, with a white cheek.
Adult (Richardson's) with Canada Goose
Often flocks with Canada Goose (right). Note Cackling's shorter bill with more abrupt transition to steep forehead.
Often occurs in large flocks, and forages in grassy habitats.
Adult (Richardson's) with Snow Goose
Often flocks with other species of geese.
- 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 DescriptionJuvenile similar to adult.
Relative Sizegoose-sized or larger
- Both Sexes
- Length: 24.8-25.6 in (63-65 cm)
- Weight: 49.3-84.0 oz (1398-2380 g)
- Wingspan: 42.5-43.7 in (108-111 cm)
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