Emperor Goose

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Common Name: Emperor Goose
Scientific Name: Chen canagica

Size: 26 inches (68.6 cm); Wingspan: 47 inches ( 119.3 cm)

Habitat: North America, the Arctic and Northern Eurasia; breeds around the Bering Sea, mostly in Alaska (United States), but also in Kamchatka (Russia). It is migratory, wintering mainly in the Aleutian Islands.

It breeds in coastal saltmarshes and winters along ice-free coasts.

Status: Near Threatened. Global population: 85,000 adult individuals. Factors affecting its population fluctuations are poorly understood, but subsistence hunting in Alaska and coastal oil pollution are considered to be contributory. Climate change and associated habitat shifts are expected to impact negatively on this species and others dependent on tundra habitat for breeding. Modeling indicates that 54% of the habitat for this species could be lost by 2070.

Diet: Shoreline grasses and other coastal plants. This species is much less gregarious than most geese, usually occurring in family groups.

Nesting: This goose has a stout gray body, subtly barred with fine barring, and a white head and hind neck, often stained orange from iron-rich waters. Unlike the blue-morph snow goose, the white does not extend onto the front of the neck. The sexes are similar, but immatures have the head the same color as the body.

Breeding birds molt near the breeding colonies, but non-breeders move to St. Lawrence Island to molt prior to the main migration to the rocky coastlines of the wintering grounds. It breeds on coastal tundra, laying 3–7 eggs in a ground nest.

Cool Facts: The American Ornithologists' Union places this species and the North American "white" geese in the genus Chen, rather than the more traditional "gray" goose genus Anser.

Found in Songbird Remix Waterfowl Volume 4: Geese, Loons, Grebes & Coots

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