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Home > Science > Snow Goose - Arctic Wildlife Series

Snow Goose - Arctic Wildlife Series

This page tells about the Snow Goose. It includes a video. It is part of our Arctic Wildlife series.

Description

Measuring about 25 inches in length, the numerous Snow Goose comes in two distinct color phases. The adult "white phase" goose in all white with a pink bill and black primary feathers on the wings. The feathers near the bill may be rusty or orange in color. The adult "blue phase" goose has a white head and neck and a shiny, brownish body with black wing feathers. Until recently, the two color phases were considered different species. Both phases regularly interbreed. When a white phase goose mates with a blue phase goose, the offspring are blue phase. Males and females of both phases are similar.

Diet

The Snow Goose eats plants, plant seeds, grasses and grains.

Range and Habitat

The Snow Goose breeds in northern Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Siberia (Asia). It winters in huge numbers on parts of the Atlantic coast, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific coast, as well as large inland waterways in the central and western United States. Flocks of migrating and wintering Snow Geese are so large that they often strip entire fields of all nutrients.

The Snow Goose breeds on tundra lakes and ponds. In migration and in winter, it is found in coastal marshes, estuaries, bays, and cultivated fields.

Status

The Snow Goose is very common. After being severely reduced in numbers by hunters in the early 1900's, hunting is now once again legal.

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