Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
© Tom Koerner/USFWS

Ross's Goose

Ross's Goose
Chen rossii
Duck-like Birds | Family: Ducks and Geese, Anatidae

An estimated >10% of the species' North American breeding range lies within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

This relatively rare bird is carefully monitored by both Canadian and United States game biologists, but some hunting is allowed on its winter grounds. The population has increased in recent years, and there are now estimated to be more than 80,000 Ross's Geese, the great majority of which winter in California's Sacramento Valley. In the East there is some evidence that the two species occasionally hybridize.

Description

24" (61 cm). A Mallard-sized edition of the Snow Goose. White wings, black wing tips, pink bill, and pink legs. Differs from Snow Goose in its smaller size, very stubby bill, and rounder head. The rare blue phase looks like a miniature "Blue Goose" (dark form of Snow Goose).

Voice

Soft cackling and grunting notes.

Nesting

4 or 5 creamy-white eggs in a down-lined grass nest placed on a small island in a lake or river. Nests in loose colonies.

Habitat

Arctic tundra in the breeding season, salt or fresh marshes in the winter.

Range/Migration

Breeds in northeastern Mackenzie and on Southampton Island in Hudson Bay; winters mainly in California, but now occurs in increasing numbers in lower Mississippi Valley and on East Coast.