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Home > About the Chesapeake > Exploring the Bay > Chesapeake Bay Waterfowl > Types of Waterfowl > Greater Snow Goose
Greater Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens)
Greater Snow Goose
Overview:

Sizeable goose 25” to 38” long with an average wingspan of 59”. Both sexes have a white body with black wing tips and a black-edged, buff-colored bill.

Habitat:

Marshes, bays and nearby grain fields.

Range:

Snow geese typically breed in the high Arctic. Those in the Atlantic Flyway migrate to the Chesapeake region in early to mid autumn to overwinter.

Diet:

Aquatic plants, leftover grain in fields.

Call:

A broad, nasal honk or “bark.” Listen to a sample (Requires RealPlayer)

Cool Facts:

The greater snow goose once bore the poetic species name hyperborea, meaning “from beyond the north wind.” But not all greater snow geese are, in fact, snowy white. By a genetic quirk, some individuals, so-called “blue geese,” have a white head and grayish brown plumage that can look steely blue from a distance. Visitors to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge often can see this blue color morph among the snow geese there.

The decoy pictured is from the collection of the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art and was photographed by Middleton Evans. Waterfowl sounds are courtesy of the Macaulay Lab of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.


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