WATERFOWL of North America

The order Anseriformes contains about 150 living species of birds in three families: the Anhimidae (the screamers), Anseranatidae (the Magpie Goose), and the Anatidae, which includes over 140 species of waterfowl, among them the ducks, geese, and swans. All species in the order are web-footed for efficient swimming and have a large wide bill with a specialized tongue that allows water to be sucked in the front of the bill. An array of plates traps food particles as the water is expelled out the sides of the bill. Not all species feed this way, some graze on plants and some also catch fish.



Geese

Order Anseriformes    Family Anatidae

The following genus comprise the true geese: Anser, Branta, and Chen. They are large, monogamous waterfowl. The Cape Barren Goose, Spur-winged Goose, and Magpie Goose are not true geese. Similary, many species termed goose actually belong to the shelduck subfamily. The closest relatives of the true geese are the swans of genus cygnus.


Genus Anser
The "grey" geese of genes Anser are closely related to the "black" geese in the genus Branta. Anser geese have pink or orange legs and feet; Branta geese have black or dark gray legs and feet.

Goose, Bar-headed Anser indicus   Found: North America (escaped captive), Asia
The Bar-headed Goose should not be confused with any other geese because of its distinctive head.
Image by: 1) Noel Reynolds   2, 3) Dick Daniels- Sylvan Heights 4) Dick - San Diego Zoo


Goose, Greater White-fronted also White-fronted Goose  Anser albifrons  Found: North America, Europe, Asia
The Greater White-fronted Goose has white front of face, grayish-brown upperparts, gray breast, pink bill, orange legs and feet.
Similar to: Graylag Goose. Graylag Goose does not have white base to bill. Graylag Goose is largest Anser goose.
Similar to: Lesser White-fronted Goose. Lesser has a bright yellow eye-ring, are smaller in size than the Greater, and the white front extends to the crown of the head.
Image by: 1, 2, 5, 6) Dick Daniels - Sylvan Heights  3, 4) Alan Vernon  
1) This bird has a faint yellow eye-ring, not to be confused with the brighter eye-ring of a Lesser White-fronted Goose.
1, 2, 5, 6) Tule Goose (Anser a. Elgasi)



Goose, Greylag also Graylag Goose  Anser anser   Found: North America (escaped captive), Europe, Asia
The Greylag Goose is grayish-brown. Its plumage is patterned by pale fringes of its feathers. The upperparts are darker than the underparts. It has white eye-ring,
Similar to: Greater White-fronted Goose, Lesser White-fronted Goose. Graylag Goose is largest Anser goose. Graylag Goose does not have white base to bill.
Image by: 1) Alan D Wilson - Washington  2, 3) Dick Daniels - England  4, 5) Dick - Scotland   6) Dick - Virginia
6) Greylag / Domestic Goose hybrid



Goose, Lesser White-fronted   Anser erythropus   Found: Europe, Asia
Similar to: Graylag Goose. Graylag Goose does not have white base to bill. Graylag Goose is largest Anser goose.
Similar to: Greater White-fronted Goose. Lesser has a bright yellow eye-ring, smaller in size than the Greater, and the white front extends to the crown of the head.
Image by:  1) distillated - England   2) BS Thurner Hof  3) Tilly Mint - Wales  4)  LHG Creative Photography - England 


Goose, Swan  Anser cygnoides  Found: North America (introduced/domesticated), Asia  
Similar to: Chinese Goose. The Chinese Goose was domesticated from the Swan Goose. The Chinese Goose has two varieties: one similar to the Graylag Goose, and one white.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo   2) Dick - Sylvan Heights 
    3) Dick - Puerto Rico, the Mayaquez Zoo  4) Charlie Westerinen - River Kwai, Thailand



Genus Branta
The Branta geese can be distinguished from other geese by their legs and feet, which are black or very dark grey. Furthermore, they have black bills and large areas of black on the head and neck,

Brant also Brent also Brant Goose Branta bernicla   Found: North America, Europe, Asia
The Brant has a black head and neck, white neck collar, gray-brown back and belly of varying darkness depending on the subspecies, white under-tail.
Image by:  1, 5) Alan D Wilson - British Columbia  2, 3) Dick Daniels - Sylvan Heights    4) Dick on the Cape May, New Jersey ferry 6) Elaine Wilson - British Columbia



Goose, Barnacle Branta leucopsis   Found: North America (rare), Europe
The Barnacle Goose has white forehead, cheeks, and throat; black top of head, neck, and breast; light gray belly, light-gray with dark bars back.
Similar to: Canada Goose. Canada Goose has black face; Barnacle Goose has white face.
Image by:  1) Sandy Cole - Birds of Eden, South Africa   2, 3) Dick Daniels - Birds of Eden   4) Dick - Sylvan Heights


Goose, Cackling Branta hutchinsii Found: North America, Asia
Similar to: Canada Goose. Cackling Goose has a shorter bill than Canada Goose.
Image by: 1, 2) Tim Bowman, USFWS  3) Alan Vernon - California  4) Glen Tepke - California
4) Ridgeway's Cackling Goose


Goose, Canada Branta canadensis Found: North America, Europe, Asia, New Zealand (introduced)
The Canada Goose has white "chinstrap", black face, tan underparts, brown back.
Similar to: Barnacle Goose. Canada Goose has black face; Barnacle Goose has white face.
Similar to: Cackling Goose. Cackling Goose has a shorter bill than Canada Goose.
Image by: 1) Alan D Wilson - Burnaby, British Columbia   2)Dick Daniels - England  3)  Dick - North Carolina   4) Dick - New York 5, 6) Dick - New Jersey  7) Dick - California




Genus Chen
The "white geese" are a small group of waterfowl which are united in the genus or subgenus Chen. They breed on subarctic areas of North America and around the Bering Strait, migrating south in winter. Many authorities place these species in the grey goose genus Anser.

Goose, Emperor Chen canagica   Found: west North America (Alaska to northern California), Asia (northeast Siberia)
Distinctive due to black fore-neck and white hind-neck.
Image by: 1) USFWS   2) Tim Bowman USFWS  3, 5, 6) Dick Daniels - Sylvan Heights   4) Sandy Cole - Sylvan Heights  
1) Head stained oranged from iron-rich water.



Goose, Ross's Chen rossii   Found: North America
The Ross's Goose is white except for black wing tips, small pink bill. There is a rare dark morph.
Similar to: Snow Goose. Ross's Geese and Snow Geese look very similar and can comingle. To tell them apart, compare the bills. The base of the Ross's  bill is much straighter than the Snow's.
Image by: 1, 2) Mike Baird   3, 4) Dick Daniels - Sylvan Heights   5)  Bill Bouton - California  6) Len Blumin - California
6) Dark morph



Goose, Snow Chen caerulescens  Found: North America
The Snow Goose is white except for black wing tips, small pink bill. There is a relatively common dark morph.
Similar to: Ross's Goose. Ross's Geese and Snow Geese look very similar and can comingle. To tell them apart, compare the bills. The base of the Ross's  bill is much straighter than the Snow's.
Image by: 1) Alan D Wilson - Ladner, British Columbia  2, 3, 7) Dick Daniels - North Carolina  4) hjhipster - New Jersey   5) Dick - Sylvan Heights  6) Dick - Luray Caverns, Virginia   8) Alan D Wilson - New Mexico
1) Lesser Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens caerulescen )




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