What Is A Snow Goose

Snow Goose is a big goose with white or dark color. The white goose, the most common, has a white overall color with black primaries while the dark one, also known as the Blue Goose and is uncommon in Washington area, has dark gray overall with a white head. Both the white and dark geese have orange legs. Young geese have dark legs and white color overall. The Snow Goose has the same look with its smaller and less common Ross’ Goose; however, the Snow Goose has a dark patch on the sides of its beak, giving the impression of grinning, which is also known as the “grin-patch”. Snow Goose has two subspecies, which are the Greater and Lesser Snow Geese, which differ according to size.

Let Top Gun Guide Service explain a little more.

Habitat

Snow Geese are normally found nesting in the Arctic tundra about 5 miles off the coast. Greater Snow Geese prefer to have their nest in drier and higher areas compared to the Lesser Snow Geese. During winter and migrating season, the Snow Geese live in coastal and freshwater marshes, agricultural lands and bays. Greater Snow Geese prefer to inhabit salt water compared to Lesser Snow Geese.

Snow Geese easily adapt in using agricultural fields, the reason that they don’t have a problem with their population. During migration and winter, you can find them in cornfields and wetlands. They can also be found in ponds, marshes, and lakes bathing and roosting in open water and shorelines. The breeding ground of the Snow Geese is on the Arctic tundra.

 

Feeding Behavior

Snow Geese feed by foraging in shallow waters or on fields. When not nesting, they normally feed in flocks occasionally mixing with other breeds of geese.

Diet

Their diet mostly consists of plant material. They feed on roots, leaves, and seeds of various wild grasses and also bulrushes, sedges, horsetails and others. Young goslings also love to eat insect larvae. During fall, they also feed on berries. And in the winter, Snow Geese feed on waste grain lying around in agricultural fields.

Color Pattern

White morph Snow Geese are normally white overall with black wingtips that are hard to distinguish when they are on the ground but can be seen when they are flying. They have the “grin patch”, which is a dark line lining at the side of their pink bill. And you have the dark morph Snow Geese or also known as the Blue Geese. Their body is dark brown in color, they have a white face and under the tail.

Nesting

Snow Geese start to breed when they reach three years and may mate for life. During courtship, they display some form of ritual where the male and female geese will face one another and stretch their necks up rapidly and repetitively in harmony. Sometimes they nest in colonies. The nesting area, which is normally picked by the female, is situated on a slight ridge that has good visibility.  The same nesting area may be used for more than one season. The nest has a narrow depression and filled plant material.