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Snow Goose
Chen caerulescens

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) acicalándose
Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens)


The Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) nests in Siberia, in the northern coast of North America and nearby islands, and in Greenland. During fall it migrates to California, the coasts of Louisiana and Texas and the Atlantic Coast of the United States, and northern Mexico, including a good part of Baja California Peninsula. Some go to Korea and Japan to winter.


During summer it inhabits the tundra, usually near lakes and the sea coast. Winters in brackish marshes and crop fields.


This species is very gregarious. It forms flocks that count in the ten of thousands.

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens). Photo at Gardens at Crandon Park Foundation, Miami, Florida, 2001.
Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens)


Nests in colonies which can count in the hundred of thousands of pairs. The clutch usually consists of three to five eggs. Incubation is done by the female and takes about 23 days. The male stays by the nest, defending it. The young fly from 40 to 50 days old. At two years they are adults. Most breed at three years of age, some start at two and others wait until they are four.


The diet of this goose includes seeds (such as rice and corn), roots of aquatic plants and grass.


In length it reaches from 66 to 84 cm (26 to 33 inches). The weight varies according to subspecies and migration, the average for the males is from 2.74 to 3.31 Kg. (6 to 7.3 pounds) and for the females from 2.52 to 2.81 Kg. (5.5 to 6.2 pounds).

In nature the plumage has two phases. In one of the phases the geese are almost entirely white. On the other phase the body's plumage is brownish bluish. In both cases the plumage of the sexes are similar.


As in the other geese, the Snow Goose molts the primary feathers once a year. During this time, of about 24 days, it can not fly.

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens), white plumage.
Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens), white phase


Eggs and chicks: The eggs of this goose are prayed by the Glaucous-winged Gull, the Common Raven, the Artic Fox, the Polar Bear and the Grizzly Bear.


The Snow Goose in Spanish is called “Ganso Azul”, “Ganso de Nieve” and “Ganso Nival”.

Our thanks to
Gardens at Crandon Park Foundation, Miami, Florida, USA
for allowing us to take pictures in their gardens.

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Last revision: March 1, 2007
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