Is Snow Goose the Same as Canada Goose?

There are many different kinds and subspecies of geese, and it’s easy to become confused by the differences between them. The snow goose and the Canada goose are two of the most well-known geese. But my question is, “Is the snow goose the same as the Canada goose?”

The snow goose and the Canada goose are not the same species of goose. They are both Anatidae family members but belong to different genera and have different physical characteristics.

While these birds appear to be identical at first glance, there are some significant variations between them. Let’s look into the debate over whether the snow goose and the Canada goose are the same.

Are Snow Geese and Canadian Geese The Same?

Before going through an in-depth discussion, let’s know the basic identities of both the snow goose and the Canada goose.

Canada goose

canada goose

The Canada goose (Branta canadensis) is a large, dark goose with a distinct white chinstrap. They are widespread in North America and notable for their monogamous pair bonding and seasonal migrations.

Snow goose

snow goose

Snow geese (Chen caerulescens) are smaller white geese. They are found in North America’s arctic and subarctic regions and are known for their large, noisy flocks and distinctive V-shaped flight formations.

While both species of geese have some similarities, they differ in terms of physical characteristics, behavior, and ecology. Snow geese are typically smaller and more social than Canada geese, whereas Canada geese are larger and more territorial.

Furthermore, while both species of geese migrate, their migration patterns and routes vary depending on population and location.

Snow Goose Vs Canada Goose: A Comparison Table

FeaturesSnow gooseCanada goose
Scientific NameChen caerulescensBranta canadensis
Size/color25-32 inches50-73 inches
Lifespan5-15 years10-24 years
AppearanceSnow geese have white plumage with black wingtips and a pink or red beak. Greater snow geese are larger and have more white plumage than lesser snow geese.The Canada goose has a brownish-gray body, a black neck with a white chinstrap, and varies in color and size depending on subspecies; it is known for its characteristic honking cry and V-shaped flying formation.
Weight1.5 -3.5 kg3-6 kg
DietSnow geese are herbivores that mostly devour plant parts such as roots, stems, leaves, seeds, and berries, but, during migration and winter, they may also consume agricultural crops.Canada geese are herbivores that mostly consume plants such as grasses, sedges, grains, and berries, as well as tiny creatures such as insects and fish.
HabitatSnow goose nest in the Arctic tundra and subarctic regions, then during the winter, they travel to North American coastal wetlands, marshes and agricultural fields.Canada geese live in marshes, lakes, and rivers, breed in northern North America, and may travel south during the winter; they can also be found in cities and suburbs.


Snow Goose Vs Canada Goose: Key Differences

1. Identity (Scientific Name)

“Chen caerulescens” is the scientific name for the snow geese, while “Branta canadensis” is the scientific name for the Canadian goose (commonly known as Canada goose).

See also  Are there Snow Geese in Canada?

2. Appearance (Size/color)

Both species are regarded for their elegance and grace in flight and have distinguishing black and white plumage. 

The Snow Goose is smaller, weighing 64-79 cm in length, 1.5-3.5 kg in weight, and 135-175 cm in wingspan.

The Canadian Goose, on the other hand, is larger, measuring 76-110 cm in length, 2.5-6.5 kg in weight, and 127-185 cm in wingspan.

3. Lifespan

The longevity of snow geese and Canadian geese can vary based on a variety of factors, like food availability, predator presence, and the consequences of hunting and other human activities. On average, however:

a) The Snow Goose

Snow geese in the wild can live for up to 10-15 years. It has been reported that Snow geese can survive for up to 30 years in captivity.

b) The Canadian Goose

Wild Canada geese can live for 10 to 25 years. It has been reported that Canada geese can survive for up to 30 years in captivity.

4. Snow goose vs canada goose taste

Snow geese have a more pronounced, gamey flavor, but Canada geese have a gentler, beef- or venison-like flavor. The flavor of the birds can also be affected by how they are prepared and cooked.

5. Habitat of snow goose vs canada goose

Snow geese nest in the Arctic and subarctic regions and move south during the winter, but Canadian geese can be found across North America, near bodies of water and in cities. Both species are adaptable to a variety of environments.

6. Diet of snow goose vs canadian goose

Snow geese graze largely on plant material, but they also consume crops during migration. Plant material, insects, and crustaceans are also eaten by Canadian geese, and they may feed on the grass in urban settings.

See also  Where Do Snow Geese Live?

Do Snow Geese and Canadian Geese Sound The Same?

Snow geese and Canada geese do not have the same sound. They have different vocal sounds and calls. Snow geese have a high-pitched honking noise, whereas Canada geese have a more distinct “honk” or “hink” sound.

Can You Use A Canada Goose Call For Snow Geese?

snow goose

It is typically not advisable to use a Canada goose call for snow goose.

Snow geese have a more diversified vocalization that includes a higher-pitched, nasal “hink-hink-hink” call, a low honking call, and yapping or barking.

When attempting to attract snow geese, it is best to use a call created exclusively for snow geese.

How Can You Tell a Snow Goose From A Swan?

Snow geese and swans can be recognized by their size, neck length, beak form, plumage, and behavior. Swans are substantially larger than snow geese and have a characteristic triangular-shaped beak all-white plumage and are often found in or near water.

 Snow geese, on the other hand, have a smaller pointed beak and black wingtips. They can be found in a range of environments, including marshes, agricultural areas, and grasslands.

These features can help you identify the two species apart with some skill and observation.

What Is the Difference Between Canada Goose And Canadian Goose?

canada goose

There is no difference between “Canada goose” and “Canadian geese” in terms of the bird species they refer to.

This bird species’ correct common name is “Canada goose,” after the nation where it was initially documented and from whence it is most usually known to migrate.

Some people may refer to the species incorrectly as “Canadian geese,” however, this is not the approved common name.

See also  Where Do Snow Geese Sleep at Night?


What is the best goose call?

The finest goose call is determined by personal preference and the species you want to attract. Zink Calls, RNT Calls, and Buck Gardner Calls are popular brands.

What goose is similar to a Canada goose?

The Cackling goose is similar to the Canada goose in plumage and physical characteristics. The two species were formerly thought to be the same, but they were later distinguished by genetic and physical differences.

What is another name for Canada Goose?

Canada geese are also called “Canadas” or by their scientific name, Branta canadensis. It is also known by several names given by indigenous North American communities.

Is a Blue Goose the same as a snow goose?

The Blue Goose is a dark morph of the Snow Goose and is not a distinct species.

The name “Blue Goose” relates to the bird’s bluish-gray plumage. Also, it is frequently used to denote both the dark morph of the Snow Goose and a subspecies of Snow Goose known as the Lesser Snow Goose.

Are snow geese bigger than canada goose?

Canada Geese are larger and heavier than Snow Geese. Mature Canada Geese weigh between 3 and 9 pounds on average. On the other hand, Snow Geese weigh between 3 and 5 pounds. Snow Geese have a greater body length and wingspan than Canada Geese.

Do snow geese make noise?

Snow Geese are recognized for their unusual vocalizations, which include honking, barking, and clucking noises and serve as a vital mode of communication among their social flocks.


To summarise, while Snow Geese and Canada Geese share some characteristics, they are separate species with substantial variances in appearance, behavior and habitat.

Snow Geese are smaller than Canada Geese and have a distinct hue, with a white body and black wingtips. They also differ in their vocalizations and feeding habits.

Canada Geese, on the other hand, are larger and have a striking black head and neck as well as white cheek patches. They have a distinct honking call that differs from that of Snow Geese. Although both species are members of the goose family, they have distinguishing traits that set them apart.

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