White Geese – genus or subgenus Chen

The white geese (genus Chen) breed on subarctic areas of North America and around the Bering Strait (situated at the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent – slightly south of the polar circle.

These migratory geese travel south for the winter.


The plumage is either white all over, or colored in various dark bluish-grey hues. The wingtips are black.

White-phase snow geese can be told apart from feral geese by the more slender, elegant neck. They often lack black wingtips.

The feet, legs and beak are reddish in color.


  • Snow Goose, Chen caerulescens – Breed north of the timberline in Greenland, Canada, Alaska, and the northeastern tip of Siberia. Winter in warm parts of North America from southwestern British Columbia.
  • Emperor Goose, Chen canagica – Breed around the Bering Sea, mostly in Alaska, USA, but also in Kamchatka, Russia. Wintering mainly in the Aleutian Islands in the Northern Pacific Ocean westward from the Alaska Peninsula.
  • Ross’s Geese – Chen rossi – sometimes separated in Anser. Breed south of Queen Maud Gulf and west of Hudson Bay. Winter in California, Texas and Louisiana, United States.

Ross's Goose

Further Goose Information

Diet / Feeding

Geese consume a wide variety of plant material, including grass, roots, shoots, leaves, stems, seedheads and fruits of other herbaceous marsh vegetation, aquatic plants, and agricultural grain and potatoes (particularly in the winter)

Feeding Ducks and Geese …

We all enjoy waterfowl and many of us offer them food to encourage them to come over and stay around – and it works! Who doesn’t like an easy meal!

However, the foods that we traditionally feed them at local ponds are utterly unsuitable for them and are likely to cause health problems down the road. Also, there may be local laws against feeding this species of bird – so it’s best to check on that rather than facing consequences at a later stage.

Please note that feeding ducks and geese makes them dependent on humans for food, which can result in starvation and possibly death when those feedings stop. If you decide to feed them, please limit the quantity to make sure that they maintain their natural ability to forage for food themselves – providing, of course, that natural food sources are available.

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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