Most Snow Geese are all white with black primaries. Rusty stains on the face are the result of foraging in mud containing iron oxides. The pink bill is substantial, with a dark “grinning patch” where the upper and lower mandibles meet. The bill of a Snow Goose is considerably longer than it is tall, giving it a much flatter slope than the bill of a Ross's Goose. Also, where the transition from white feathering to bare bill parts is more curved or convex with the feathered area projecting out onto the bill, thus there is not the vertical and straight line of transition seen on a Ross's Goose. Juveniles have a gray-brown wash over most of the upperparts, and dusky bills and feet. Blue-morph individuals, most likely to occur in the eastern population, are gray-brown, with blue-gray on the wings and a white neck and head. Juvenile blue-morphs are gray-brown overall with less patterning on the wings.
Length: 64 (cm) Wingspan: 135 (cm)
The call is a high-pitched honk, suggestive of a small dog barking.
Nests on tundra, winters in marshes and agricultural fields.
Flocks fly in long diagonal lines or Vs. On wintering grounds, forms massive flocks of several thousand individuals. Flocks are typically very tightly bunched whether on land or in the water. Where their ranges overlap, they are often found in mixed flocks with smaller, but very similar Ross's Geese.
Forages for plant matter, both above and below soil surface, and in shallow water.
Expanded Life History
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The blue morph is not more common in the eastern portion of the range. Rather, the epicenter of its breeding range is around Hudson Bay (western side, if I remember correctly) and it is most numerous in the Mississippi Flyway, which is the eastern portion of Lesser Snow Goose. Greater Snow Goose, which breeds farther east and winters on the Atlantic Coast does not appear to have a blue morph, or that is my understanding. Over the last 50 or so years, small numbers of Blue Geese have appeared ever farther west in Arctic breeding colonies, having reached the Wrangell (sp?) colonies around the mid-1980s. That is when small numbers started to appear in w. Washington. Similarly, I don't know the year offhand, but Blue Geese were not always part of the California Snow Goose wintering populations, but started to appear there when Blue Geese expanded into the western Canadian Arcticby Steven Mlodinow on June 22, 2010 at 03:29 pm
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|Activity||Date & Time|
|Jeffrey Greco added Snow Goose to their Butter Valley Golf Port smart list||11/20/2011 at 2:39PM|
|Dave Irons added Snow Goose to their Ankeny NWR, Marion Co., OR smart list||10/17/2011 at 12:26AM|
|Steven Mlodinow added a Size note to Snow Goose Size Notes||6/22/2010 at 3:30PM|