Wild Geese

Emperor Geese

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Emperor Geese Details

Emperor Geese

Chen canagica

The Emperor Goose is one of the most rare species of goose in North America, and it is also perhaps the most strikingly colored.

Emperor Geese are small, stocky geese with blue-gray plumage with black barring over most of the body. The head is bright white, and the white extends down the back of the neck. Feet and legs are bright yellow-orange, and the bill is pinkish. Females and males are similarly colored.

Range: The range of the Emperor Goose is quite small for a goose. The range centers on the Bering Sea; the birds winter on the coasts of the Aleutian Islands and their breeding grounds are along the arctic coast of Alaska as well as the Northeast coast of Russia. There have been rare sightings of Emperor Geese in California and Japan.

Habitat: Like most wild geese, Emperor Geese prefer breeding sites near large bodies of water. They usually inhabit open tundra near coastal lagoons, or by inland lakes. For the winter, Emperor Geese can be found along ice-free coastlines in small family groups.

Status in the Wild: The Emperor Goose is currently classified as Near Threatened, and although it is not clear why their populations are declining, subsistence hunting and oil spills are most likely the culprits.

Status in Aviculture: Although found in zoos and professional collections, Emperor Geese are quite rare in private collections.

Breeding: Emperor Geese are monogamous and form life-long bonds with their mates. Breeding usually starts at three years of age. Nest sites are always near water and with good visibility. Nests are made on the ground, and there are usually 3-8 creamy-white eggs in a clutch, which is incubated by the female for 14-27 days. The male protects and defends the nest site. Goslings leave the nest and are capable of walking, swimming, and feeding themselves within 24 hours of hatching. The male stands guard and is protective, even aggressive.

Lifespan: Wild Emperor Geese have a lifespan of 10-24 years, but in captivity with good husbandry, they can live over 25 years old.

Size: Emperor Geese weight about 6 pounds and are usually between 26 and 30 inches in length.

Housing Requirements: Emperor Geese need access to a large body of swimming water. Also, if they are not pinioned, your geese will be able to fly away, so some sort of enclosure is necessary. These geese will also need protection from predators especially if they have been pinioned. Their natural inclination is to run to water if a threat appears.

Diet: Like most geese, Emperor Geese do well when allowed enough space for adequate foraging both on land and in water. Emperors eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but they will sometimes eat insects, crustaceans, and mollusks. A waterfowl or game bird feed would be quite adequate if they are also provided with greens and forage.

Miscellaneous Notes: Emperor Geese are rare birds to glimpse in the wild. Not only are they rare in numbers, but they are by nature rather wary of humans. They tend to keep their distance from centers of human activity even making adjustments in migratory patterns to do so.


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Emperor Geese

Emperor Geese

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