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Cackling or Canada Goose? (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
I took this photo near Oakland CA yesterday. There was a large flock of geese, some of whom were clearly Canada and some more like the bird in this photo - my impression was that this bird was smaller, had a short neck, larger white patch on face and a smaller beak. I believe it is a Cackling Goose, because I had a reasonable view of both species together - but wanted to confirm. Thanks for your help. Goose.jpg

D Halas

Well-known member
This is a small Canada Goose. A Cackling Goose would have a stubbier bill, and a rounder head with a more prominent forehead.

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Definitely a Greater Canada Goose, if there was a very noticeable size difference then possibly a Lesser Canada Branta canadensis parvipes which afaik winter in CA/Mexico and have relatively large cheek patches. If not a Lesser, possibly moffitti which I think would be the resident Canada Goose for CA. To be honest, it is hard enough to identify any down to sub-species other than most extreme examples, let alone from an image of a single bird but range and separating Cackling from Canadas is a good start which can be done just on the bill size in this image.

Lesser https://www.birdguides.com/species-guide/ioc/branta-canadensis-parvipes/

As a field note - when it comes to identifying sub-species of Canada or Cackling: It is difficult to tell size without a comparison image and there is often overlap between sub-species - there is also slight sexual dimorphism in size with females being smaller than male - also long necked birds have a habit of looking thick and short necked when relaxed!
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Lisa W

Staff member
Hi, just wanted to remind you that per the forum rules you need to pit the location in the thread title. Thanks.

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