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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Canada Goose

Hebrides bird sightings - Canada Goose
Hebrides bird sightings - Canada Goose


Canada Goose

(Canadian Goose, Cackling Goose, Calling Goose, Canada Brant, Ring-Neck Goose, Common Wild Goose, Cravat Goose, Greater Canada Goose, Long-Necked Goose, Reef Goose, Bay Goose, Big Gray Goose, Black-Headed Goose, Honker, Hutchins' Goose, Richardson's Goose, Tundra Goose, West Coast Goose, White-Cheeked Goose, Wild Goose

Branta canadensis

Photography © Suzanne Harris
Carloway - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
8th October, 2008


October 8th 2008
"Four Canada Geese today on Carloway Football Club pitch. The view was partially obstructed but it looked like one juvenile and three adults. They took briefly took flight but remained in the general area. A few miles away at Breasclete were still the pair of adults that have been there for at least since the end of August. Suzanne

24 June 2008
"I'm just back from visiting my folks in Borrowston and in addition to the pair on Loch na h-Airde there was a pair of Canada Geese with three goslings on Loch Liuravat, Carloway (between Borrowston and Garenin) on the evening of 24 June (viewed from a hill overlooking nearby Loch Breabhat). They appeared to bed down for the night on the small island in the loch. The goslings appeared to be quite small so I assumed they were around 2 weeks old. I didn't see the family of geese after this but that may be due to the bad weather and not gettimg out much after the 24th before continuing my break in Harris. I couldn't believe my eyes! " Finlay M


Our Canada Goose photographs

Canada Goose
Canada Goose
Canada Goose
Canada Goose
Canada Goose



  • Canada Goose
  • Branta canadensis
  • UK: Introduced breeder. 82,000 adults BTO
  • WI: Rare visitor (less than 30 records)
  • Breeding: 2 yr old finds a mate. Monogamous, mates for life (one dies other may find new mate). Nest shallow depression lined with plant material & down. Usually in elevated area nr water. Lays 1 clutch a yr, 5-7 eggs. Both adults protect eggs. During incubation (25–28 days) adults lose flight feathers. Feathers regrown & birds can fly again after eggs hatched. N America, (INTRODUCED: N+W Europe, New Zealand)
  • Wintering: Many British birds travel to different sites within the UK to moult but are non-migratory. A few vagrant birds of the smaller races join with other species of wild geese in N Ireland & W Scotland
  • Habitat: Marsh, meadows, lakes, tundra, estuaries, gravel pits, parks
  • Diet: Mostly grazing - grasps grass with bill & jerks head to tear the blades off. Plant material, grass, roots, tubers, shoots, leaves, grains, seeds. In water feeds from silt at bottom of body of water. Also feeds on aquatic plants seaweeds etc
  • Large goose. Black head & neck. Large white throat patch "chinstrap". Brownish, body plumage (with white breast). (Barnacle Goose, has black breast & grey body) . Female similar to male but slightly smaller & has different honk.
  • Typical lifespan 6yrs. Max recorded lifespan 27yr 4mths
  • Listen to a Canada Goose (RSPB site)


Canada Geese were introduced to the UK, initially as an adornment to parks and the gardens of stately homes. The species escaped into the wild where they bred forming feral populations.

The BTO has found the UK Canada Goose population (now approx 88,000) to be increasing at an annual rate of about 9.3%, 1998 to 2004.
read more


There are seven sub-species of the Canada Goose, of varying sizes and with minor variations of plumage. There is a very useful photograph with accompanying notes comparing the Canada Goose with the Canada Goose subspecies at the Ocean Wanderers web site.

Some of the sub-species also occur in the UK (as vagrants) when they are on migration.



The Branta genus of geese are those species with largely black plumage, the Anser genus are the species which are largely grey.



Canada Goose records in the Western Isles

Rare visitor (less than 30 records), escape or from feral naturalized population (Domestic flocks gone wild)
Bred in Carloway, Isle of Lewis in 2007 (3 goslings)














(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)


Tim from South Uist mentioned that the small Canada Geese that we see here - might be vagrants, and that large birds are most likely to be birds from the feral flocks down south. (Thanks Tim).

There are less than five records which are probable genuine vagrant species.

See the Richardson's Canada Goose notes.



Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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