Male vs Female Canadian Goose: What’s the Difference? (with Image)

The Canadian goose is one of the most popular birds that frequent North America. They are an important part of wildlife, given their beauty.

They are both mainly herbivorous birds and migratory birds. Both males and females have formed breeding colonies in both cultivated and urban habitats. They nest on the ground, in marshes, or on islands and rivers.

In the wild, Canadian geese feed mostly on grass, sedges, berries, and seeds. In urban areas, they are adept at subsisting on food and human food scraps. Their diet consists of waste grains and grasses that grow in aquatic habitats.

These birds tend to look the same and are difficult to tell apart. However, by observing their social interactions and behavior, you can learn to differentiate between the sexes.

Here we’ll explore male and female Canadian geese and highlight some of the important differences.


Male vs Female Canadian Goose: Visual Difference

Female Canadian Goose vs Male

Male vs Female Canadian Goose: Overview

Male Canadian Goose

  • Origin: Arctic and temperate regions of North America.

  • Size: 30 to 43 inches long, weighs 7-14 pounds.

  • Age: 10-24 Years

  • Domestication: No

Female Canadian Goose

  • Origin: Arctic and temperate regions of North America.

  • Size: 30 to 43 inches long, weighs 5.5-12 pounds.

  • Life span: 10-24 years.

  • Domestication: No


Overview of Male Canadian Goose

This large wild goose is native to the polar and temperate regions of North America. They occasionally migrate across the Atlantic to Northern Europe. They were introduced to Great Britain in the late 18th century and have become a popular bird in the garden.

Males are generally more aggressive and have deep horns. They also tend to be more territorial. There are several different physical characteristics that will help you identify a male. One of the most obvious signs is the size. Males tend to be larger and heavier.

male canada goose

Characteristics & Appearance of Male Canadian Goose

Male Canadian geese have blackheads, generally the neck is black with white patches. The body can vary from light gray to dark brown. The average head is also relatively larger.

They have white cheeks and blackheads with iridescent sheen. In addition, their beaks are gray-black to bluish-black with a more rounded, almost spherical shape.

Their chest feathers are gray with a chevron pattern with black or white edges. The dorsal coat is dark brown or black-and-white, depending on the subspecies. Also, they see tail feathers called the scapular and are chestnut brown on the edges, grayish brown in the middle, and pale gray underneath.

Their feet are bluish black or blackish gray. They have strong toes that help them grip the surface of water and ice better than most other birds.

Some features are shared among birds of both sexes.

male canadian goose near the pond


Overview of Female Canadian Goose

Female Canadian geese are very similar in appearance to males. For example, they also have white patches on their necks and somewhat faint black neck markings that distinguish them from other waterfowl species. They also both have blackheads with lighter backs and chests.

The main way to tell them apart is through their behavior and size.

Women are generally more docile than men and have a high-pitched honking voice. They usually don’t chase people or other animals the way males do.

female canadian goose

The Canadian goose is a social animal. The preferred habitats of these birds are wetland areas with lots of meadows and bodies of water nearby. They eat grass, aquatic plants, grain crops, berries, fruit, insects, fish, etc.

A group usually consists of five to six chicks, along with several adults, usually males and females. Families work together to protect their children and can become very aggressive when threatened. When winter comes, they migrate in flocks to warmer climates.

Men and women usually have different behavior. Females are less territorial and tend to be less aggressive. Females are more likely to leave the territory when threatened. They also gather in flocks to migrate, but are usually much smaller.

Characteristics & Appearance of Female Canadian Goose

While you may not tell them from a distance, the females are smaller and have a more slender neck than the males. While you may not tell the difference by just looking, female Canadian geese are usually 10% smaller than males. They also weigh less, at about 5.5-12 pounds.

This large and heavy bird has a long neck and legs, blackheads with iridescent sheen. Like their male counterparts, they have grayish-brown wings, white patches on their bellies, and short beaks.

Some female Canadian geese also have a gray body. In addition, the wings can be blackish with white along the sides and under the main wing (outer wing feathers). They also have a white neck ring and a brownish head.

female canadian goose walking

The female Canadian swan can be distinguished by its pointed tail feathers, which are chestnut brown at the edges. They are also grayish brown in the middle and pale gray underneath.

In addition, they do not have a grayish cast on their head and neck feathers. Their eyes are usually light brown. They have blackish gray feet with webbed feet, which are smaller.

Color variations do exist between the sexes. However, they are minimal and not easily visible. For example, the beak of the female bird is dark gray, becoming almost black near the tip.


What is the Difference Between Male and Female Canadian Goose?

The female and male Canadian geese have similarities in terms of markings. The similarities range from the back and head neck sports to the light colored chest and white patches on the neck. Unlike mallard ducks, male Canadian geese do not have the distinctive plumage that distinguishes them from females.

Some of the striking differences between men and women include:

two canadian geese walking

  • Tail: tail separates the two in terms of visual differences. Male Canadian geese have rounded tail feathers, while females have pointed tail feathers. Young adults also have rounded tail feathers, but with grooves to distinguish them from adult males.

  • Neck: Although the neck color is generally the same, female birds tend to have shorter and more slender necks. On the other hand, male birds have longer and thicker necks. The same goes for the crowns of their heads.

  • Size: Not much difference between the sexes, at least not easily recognizable. However, when paired, the larger birds are usually male, although this may not always be the case. The younger males will be smaller than the adult females.


Can You Keep a Canadian Goose as a Pet?

No. Even though Canadian geese look like some of your domestic geese, they are still wild birds. Even if kept in captivity, these birds still have a strong sense of migration. They can leave your property at any time and return with their flock to their breeding grounds.

If it doesn’t fly away, the Canadian goose may become aggressive with you and other residents in the vicinity. For this reason, people find it difficult to manage them as pets.

In addition to being aggressive, male and female birds can be dirty and noisy. They can also damage property. Although people have hunted them as a source of protein for years, they do not make good pets.

In fact, the federal government has laws that protect birds from harm (domestication). It’s just illegal to keep them as pets.

If you’re looking to keep a Canadian goose as a pet, you’re out of luck. They are best left in the wild where they can live longer and have a free life.

Featured Image Credit: Above: Male Canadian Goose: Piqsels | Ass: Canadian Goose Female: Pixabay

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