Belongs to: geese

Compare with: barnacle goose

Canada goose Branta canadensis

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Introduced transatlantic goose that has spread rapidly

Habitat: freshwater, marshes, grassland and parkland

Widespread and common resident, introduced from N America in the 17th century and increasing rapidly recently


Large goose with brown upperparts, black neck with distinctive white chin strap marking; 90–100 cm

Grazes grassland, swims and often comes to bread, eating aquatic vegetation, grass, grain and cereals

Sociable birds; fast, direct fliers, travelling in noisy V or head-to-tail formations


Nest is a lined hollow beside water, often on an island

One brood April–May; 5-6 dirty white eggs

Congregates in large moulting flocks outside the breeding season; some move to the coast in winter

© Owen Keen

© Alan Williams