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Cackling Goose

Silhouette GeeseGeese
Cackling GooseBranta hutchinsii
  • ORDER: Anseriformes
  • FAMILY: Anatidae

Basic Description

The Cackling Goose looks like a miniature version of the widespread Canada Goose, with which it was once combined as a single species. The two are almost identical in plumage, but Cackling Geese are more delicate, with stubbier bills, steeper foreheads, shorter necks (strikingly apparent in flying birds), and usually more rounded heads. Their calls are higher in pitch than those of Canada Geese. Like their larger relatives, Cackling Geese forage in marshes and fields in large flocks, often mixed with other goose species.

More ID Info
image of range map for Cackling GooseRange map provided by Birds of the WorldExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Cackling Geese breed in remote northern Canada and Alaska, so for most people the best times to look for them are on migration and in winter. During these seasons they can bw fairly common in the Pacific Northwest, California’s Central Valley, southern Great Plains, and Texas/Louisiana coast. Among Canada Geese, look carefully for a small, short-necked goose with a short bill—just remember that Canada Geese often draw their necks in when resting, making them look small.

Other Names

  • Barnacla canadiense chica (Spanish)
  • Bernache de Hutchins (French)
  • Cool Facts

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