Goose Information / OverviewPhotos of the Different Goose Species for IdentificationSpecies Index of Geese

Emperor Goose (Chen canagica)


Emperior GeeseEmperor Geese (Anser or Chen canagica) were traditionally considered to be part of the “grey” goose genus Anser. However, the American Ornithologists’ Union places this species in the “white” goose genus Chen.


Distribution / Range

Emperior Geese breed around the Bering Sea, mostly in Alaska, United States, but also in Kamchatka, Russia.

These migratory geese usually winter in the Aleutian Islands in the Northern Pacific Ocean westward from the Alaska Peninsula.

They are usually seen in family groups.



Emperor Geese have a mostly grey plumage, with fine black and white barrings. The head and hindneck are white, but often stained orange from iron-rich waters.

Males and females look alike, but the immature’s head is the same color as its body.

Similar Species:

Resembles the blue-morph (genetic mutation) Snow Goose, but the white does not extend onto the front of the neck.

Female Emperor Goose (Anser canagicus) on nest.

Emperor Geese at Adak Island Clam Lagoon



Emperor Goose (Chen canagica)

Diet / Feeding:

Emperor Geese typically feed on shoreline grasses and other coastal plants.

Geese consume a wide variety of plant material, including on 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.

Emperor Goose (Chen canagica)

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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