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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Canada Goose

Hebrides bird sightings - Canada Goose   Hebrides bird sightings - Canada Goose Hebrides bird sightings - Canada Goose
Large birds so most likely from the feral flocks down south


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

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Branta canadensis

Photography © Suzanne Harris
Breasclete - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
30th August, 2008

"Pair near to the greylags settling down for the evening on fields twix road and loch...Then en route travelling just a few miles saw a 2 merlins, 3 buzzards, and a sparrowhawk all sitting on posts...what amazing evening.. BLISS!!"


Our Canada Goose photographs

Canada Goose
Canada Goose
Canada Goose
Canada Goose
Canada Goose



  • Canada Goose
  • 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.
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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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