16 sorts of Geese & Swans in america! (2023)


Geese and swans are a number of the largest birds in america!

common geese and common swans

Assuming you’re close to a big physique of water, discovering not less than a couple of species shouldn’t be too exhausting. They’re pretty widespread in most lakes, estuaries, wetlands, lagoons, bays, or anyplace else they’ll discover meals. Most sorts of geese and swans are additionally recurrently noticed in farm fields throughout the winter months, consuming leftover crops.  

At this time, you’ll find out about 16 sorts of swans and geese that dwell in america!

For every species, I present some enjoyable details and determine them by sight OR sound. Make certain to concentrate to the vary maps to see which of those birds dwell close to you!

#1. Canada Goose

canada goose

  • Giant goose with an extended black neck and a particular white cheek patch.
  • Brown physique with a pale white chest and underparts.
  • Black toes and legs.

Canada Geese are extraordinarily widespread in america.

I’m positive you in all probability acknowledge these birds, as they’re very comfy dwelling round folks and human growth. Search for them wherever there are grasses or grains to eat, corresponding to lawns, parks, farm fields, and golf programs.

Canada Goose Vary Map

canada goose range map

The truth is, these geese are so ample that many individuals take into account them pests for the quantity of waste they produce! When you’ve got a manicured garden maintained to the water’s edge, you may have an open invitation for these birds to go to.  

The Canada Goose can also be straightforward to determine whereas flying overhead. If you happen to see a flock of enormous birds in a V-formation, it’s most certainly them. Flying this fashion helps preserve vitality, and totally different birds take turns main the way in which.

Canada Geese make all kinds of loud honks and cackles. They’ve even hissed at me for by accident approaching a nest too carefully. Pay attention under!

If you happen to’re , you could possibly see a Canada Goose at my bird-feeding station proper now! I’ve a LIVE high-definition digicam watching my feeders 24/7. 🙂 Search for them on the bottom consuming corn.

#2. Snow Goose

Types of Geese and Swans found in United States

  •  Most of those birds are all white with black tail feathers. However some people show a “blue morph,” whose heads are nonetheless white however our bodies are sooty grey.
  • Pink legs. 
  • Pink invoice, which has a black patch on both sides.

Through the breeding season, Snow Geese spend their time within the continent’s northernmost areas, away from human civilization. You’ll solely see this goose in america once they migrate south in fall and winter. 

Snow Goose Vary Map

snow goose range map

Search for these birds in massive fields and our bodies of water. It’s normally not exhausting to seek out them if they’re round, as they’re nearly all the time seen in large flocks accompanied by numerous honking!  

The truth is, one of the vital spectacular issues you’ll watch in the present day is the video under, which reveals an ENORMOUS flock of Snow Geese. It’s exhausting to fathom what number of birds are touring collectively!

As you may in all probability hear from the video above, Snow Geese are one of many noisiest waterfowl you’ll encounter in america. Their nasally, one-syllable honk could be heard at any time of day or night time, at any time of the 12 months!  

And lastly, here’s a enjoyable incontrovertible fact that my youngsters beloved to study. Snow Geese are prolific at pooping, and so they defecate between 6 – 15 instances per hour. 🙂  

#3. Ross’s Goose

Geese and Swans species that live in United States

  • Small, stocky goose that’s utterly white, apart from black wingtips. They’re barely bigger than a Mallard duck.
  • A stubby red-orange invoice that has a grey base.
  • Legs and toes are additionally red-orange.

Ross’s Goose appears to be like similar to the Snow Goose, besides they’re smaller and have a shorter neck and stubbier invoice. It’s widespread for these two species to journey collectively in the identical massive flocks!  

Ross’s Goose Vary Map

ross goose range map

Populations of Ross’s Goose have been rising on account of local weather change. As their summer time breeding grounds within the Arctic are warming, the snow cowl has been lowered, which will increase plant development. Extra vegetation imply extra meals for Ross’s Goose, which ends up in extra infants being born and surviving!

Throughout migration and the non-breeding season, these geese could be seen in america in marshes, lakes, and farm fields, the place they get pleasure from consuming leftover crops.

If you happen to see a flock of white geese flying overhead, pay attention for Ross’s Goose, which supplies a particular “keekkeek keek” name. It’ll sound increased in pitch than a Snow Goose.


#4. Cackling Goose

cackling goose

At first look, the Cackling Goose appears to be like equivalent to a Canada Goose! The truth is, the plumage is nearly precisely the identical, and these two birds was once labeled as the identical species.  

However upon additional investigation, you will discover that the Cackling Goose is smaller, has a stubbier invoice, shorter necks (most obvious when in flight), and a extra rounded head.

Cackling Goose Vary Map

cackling goose range map

Cackling Geese could be discovered breeding in small lakes and marshes within the arctic tundra. Throughout migration and in winter, they’re mostly seen in agricultural fields throughout the day. At night time, they return to massive lakes or wetlands to roost.  

One other manner that this species could be recognized from Canada Geese is by sound. Pay attention for the higher-pitched honking of the Cackling Goose.


#5. Better White-fronted Goose

greater white fronted goose

  • Principally brown, with black barring on their stomach and a white undertail.
  • Pink-orange invoice with a white patch of feathers on the base.
  • Orange legs.

These birds breed within the arctic tundra however then migrate south for winter. Search for these geese in america in massive flocks in wetlands, lakes, and farm fields.

Better White-fronted Goose Vary Map

greater white fronted goose range map

Better White-fronted Geese have INCREDIBLY robust household bonds. Mated pairs migrate with one another and keep collectively for a few years. Their offspring even stick round for longer than most different species, and it’s common to see the younger with their mother and father by way of the following breeding season.  

Their flight name is comparatively straightforward to determine. Pay attention for a two to three-syllable sound that resembles laughing.


#6. Brant


  • Black chest, head, and invoice. Principally brown physique with white on the edges and beneath.
  • A small and compact goose with a brief invoice.
  • Distinctive white patch on the facet of the neck.

Like many different goose species, Brants nest within the Arctic in wetlands. As soon as the climate turns chilly, they migrate south.

These geese could be seen in america in coastal areas, the place they’ll discover aquatic vegetation to eat in sheltered bays, estuaries, and lagoons. Brants are strictly vegetarian, with eelgrass and huge algae enjoying a big a part of their weight-reduction plan.  

Brant Vary Map

brant range map

Whereas they fly overhead, pay attention for a “crrronk” name, which sounds guttural and is just like a Sandhill Crane.


#7. Tundra Swan

tundra swan

  • Giant, fully white chook with an extended white neck.
  • Totally black invoice.
  • To determine accurately, search for a yellow patch on their black facial pores and skin under the attention.
  • Smaller than Trumpeter Swans.

You’ll not see Tundra Swans in america throughout summer time, as they spend the breeding season within the distant Arctic. Search for them in winter and migration, the place they’re guests to many massive our bodies of water. Additionally they go to farm fields in massive flocks, in search of meals.  

Tundra Swans kind long-term, devoted relationships. Usually, by the point they’re 2 or 3, they’ve discovered a accomplice. As soon as that occurs, these two birds will breed, feed, roost, and journey collectively year-round.  

The commonest sound these birds make is a “hoo-ho-hoo” bugle, with the second syllable being emphasised. (Pay attention under)


One other typical sound related to Tundra Swans is the whistling of their wings. The truth is, Lewis and Clark initially known as them “whistling swans” once they first encountered them, and many individuals nonetheless use this identify in the present day.  

#8. Trumpeter Swan

trumpeter swan

  • A large, white chook with an extended neck.
  • Black invoice and black facial pores and skin on the base of the invoice. It lacks the yellow that seems on the Tundra Swan.
  • Black legs.

Trumpeter Swans are the most important chook native to america!

They’ve a wingspan of virtually 6 toes (1.8 m) and weigh round 25 kilos (11.3 kg), which is about twice the quantity of a Tundra Swan. They’re so huge that about 100 yards of open water is required for them to get sufficient pace to take off!  

Trumpeter Swans had been as soon as endangered on account of overhunting, however fortunately, their inhabitants has recovered and is rising.

In contrast to Tundra Swans, this species stays in america in summer time to nest and breed. Search for them close to ponds, lakes, rivers, and marshes, and the farther from folks, the higher!  

These massive birds usually nest on an present construction surrounded by water, corresponding to beaver dams, muskrat dens, small islands, floating lots of vegetation, and synthetic platforms. Trumpeter Swans are very delicate when breeding and can generally abandon their nest websites and infants on account of human disturbance.  

Deep, loud trumpets could be heard when they’re alarmed or defending their territory, which is 2 syllables with the second emphasised (“oh-OH“).


#9. Mute Swan

mute swans

  • An enormous white chook with an extended white neck.
  • Search for the distinctive orange invoice that encompasses a black base and knob.

Mute Swans are among the many most elegant and delightful birds you will notice within the water. They’re additionally monumental and are one of many heaviest birds that may fly!

However do you know that Mute Swans are NOT native to america?

Resulting from their magnificence, Mute Swans had been imported from Europe and launched in parks, massive estates, and zoos. Sadly, these people escaped and have established an invasive wild inhabitants.

Don’t be fooled by their look; these swans could be aggressive and recurrently assault kayakers and different individuals who get too near their nest. Additionally they displace native ecosystems on account of their voracious urge for food, which requires as much as 8 kilos (3.6 kg) of aquatic vegetation each day!

Regardless of their identify, these swans will not be mute!

Whereas comparatively quiet, they make a hoarse trumpet sound when defending their territory. And if they’re threatened, anticipate to listen to varied barks, hisses, and snorts.

#10. Egyptian Goose

  • Regardless of being a duck, the Egyptian Goose is 24-29 inches (63 to 73 cm) tall and extra goose-like in its construct.
  • The Egyptian goose is colourful and broadly valued as a decorative duck. Its physique is a pale golden-beige total, with brilliant pink legs and brown circles round every eye.
  • A brown patch on its pale chest helps to distinguish this species from related geese.

Egyptian Geese will not be native to america!

These water birds are native to Central and Southern Africa. They had been imported to america since not less than 1904. Naturalized breeding colonies could be present in California, Florida, and Texas.

Female and male Egyptian Geese look very related. Females are sometimes smaller than males, however in any other case, there may be not numerous sexual dimorphism. 

Nevertheless, it turns into a lot simpler to inform the distinction when Egyptian Geese make sounds! Feminine Egyptian Geese make a loud cackling quack. Males, however, have a quieter, steady, vibrating name. Take a look at the male on the rear and the feminine on the entrance of this clip to listen to the distinction.

Egyptian Geese are homebodies and have a tendency to dwell beside one physique of water for his or her entire lives! They are going to return to the stream, pond, or lake of their dwelling vary each night time, as long as predation is low and there may be loads of meals and water.

#11. Swan Goose

  • Swan Geese are one of many largest geese species. They stand, on common, 3 toes tall (91.4cm). Males are normally bigger than females.
  • Swan Geese have an exquisite vary of brown shades on their our bodies. Their head and neck are chocolate brown on the higher facet and pale beige beneath, giving a stripe impact.
  • The legs of Swan Geese are vibrantly orange, whereas their beaks are deep black. 

Swan Geese are a susceptible species of their native vary of Asia. Nevertheless, they’ve been domesticated and launched across the globe for hundreds of years. Two well-liked domesticated geese breeds, the Chinese language Goose and the African Goose, are direct descendants of Swan Geese. They appear fairly totally different from their ancestors, with an upright posture and knobbly protrusions above their beaks.

In america, you might be more likely to come across Swan, Chinese language, or African Geese in a domesticated assortment than within the wild. Nevertheless, it’s attainable to identify escaped or launched people flocking along with different species close to waterways!

I discovered it fascinating that Swan Geese dwell near lakes, ponds, or wetlands however not often swim!

#12. Greylag Goose

  • Greylag Geese are a smooth, heat gray-brown.
  • Their feathers are rimmed with slim white edges, which supplies them a fragile barred sample over their wings, chest, and sides. 
  • The legs of Greylag Geese are pink, whereas their payments are brilliant orange.

Greylag Geese are NOT native to america!

These birds are discovered naturally throughout Europe and Asia, the place they’re quite common and have an enormous pure vary.

Curiously, Greylag Geese gave rise to nearly all widespread domesticated goose breeds.

In america, domesticated Greylag Geese can generally be seen on farms, estates, and in zoological collections. Often, escaped birds might flourish as feral populations.

Greylag Geese are very social animals. They are going to nearly all the time be present in flocks, starting from a couple of birds to hundreds of animals. When flying, flocks undertake the basic V-shape flight formation. Play the video to see them in motion!

#13. Black Swan

  • Black Swans have a particularly hanging look. Adults have black feathers throughout, apart from the guidelines of the wings, that are largely hid when not in flight. 
  • In stark distinction, their payments are deep purple, with a white band encircling close to the tip. 

Black Swans initially got here from Australia. Over time, they’ve been launched across the globe as a decorative chook. Once they swim, they typically maintain their neck and wings excessive above the water in an imposing, aggressive show.

If you happen to see a Black Swan in america, it should in all probability be below human care at a park or different animal assortment. Nevertheless, feral birds have been reported dwelling in Florida, California, and North Carolina. There isn’t a proof of their profitable breeding and settlement.  

#14. Pink-footed Goose

  • As their identify suggests, they’ve pink legs and toes. Additionally they have pink patches close to the tip of their payments, that are in any other case black.
  • The general coloration of pink-footed geese is a reasonably unremarkable smooth brown. Their chest space is a lightweight beige, whereas their heads and wings are a darker chocolate. 

Pink-footed Geese favor the northern hemisphere and funky climates and not often stray from these areas. However there have been rising reviews of vagrant geese noticed in america!

Sightings are rising notably alongside the east coast of North America. Look out for them tagging together with flocks of Canada geese.

Breeding is pretty difficult for Pink-footed Geese! Due to the specter of mammalian predators corresponding to Arctic foxes, pink-footed geese nest on cliff faces beside the ocean or in gorges.

#15. Barnacle Goose

  • Small, compact goose. Principally white head.
  • A brief, stubby invoice that’s black. Legs are black, too.

Resulting from their distinctive coloration, Barnacle Geese are straightforward to identify within the jap United States!

However Barnacle Geese will not be regular guests, as they spend most of their time in Arctic areas and different northern areas.

Fortunately, their sightings within the jap United States have been on the rise. Search for them combined into flocks of Canada Geese throughout winter. 🙂

So, do Barnacle Geese eat barnacles?

The reply is a convincing NO. They received their names way back when folks in medieval instances thought these birds hatched out of barnacles!

#16. Emperor Goose

  • A small, stocky goose with a darkish physique.
  • Brief pink invoice and a white head with a black throat.
  • Orange legs.

The Emperor Goose is a small goose principally discovered on the coasts of Alaska. However they’re additionally recognized to indicate up randomly in California, Oregon, and Washington.

Search for them in freshwater swimming pools, inland lakes, and coastal lagoons. These birds have been nicknamed the “seaside goose” due to their affinity for coastal environments.  

Emperor Goose Vary Map

emperor goose

These geese fly decrease than different species and are sometimes seen flying simply off the bottom. If you happen to ever see them in flight, pay attention for his or her loud, musical “kla-ha, kla-ha, kla-ha” name, which sounds extra nasally than different geese species.

Do you need to find out about MORE birds in america?

Take a look at these ID Guides. Each is particular to birds discovered right here!

Which of those swans and geese have you ever seen in america?

  Depart a remark under!

The vary maps under had been generously shared with permission from The Birds of The World, printed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I exploit their web site OFTEN to study new details about birds!


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