recently, the Canada Goose was considered a
variable species which included four smaller sub-species. Genetic analysis
revealed that these smaller birds were genetically distinct, and they were thus
grouped into a distinct species, the Cackling Goose. When seen together,
the size differences are obvious, as are the shorter neck, stubbier bill, and
rounder head. Cackling Geese breed further to the north and west than
Canada Geese typically do. There are
multiple subspecies, with all but the Aleutian lacking the white neck band that
many Canada Geese have.
Habitat: Different subspecies breed in different
habitats, but typically along ponds and lakes or coastal wetlands. In
migration and winter, can be in a variety of habitats, often feeding in grain
fields as do other geese.
Diet: Eats entirely plant matter, including seeds,
waste grain, grasses and forbs, and berries.
Behavior: Will feed on land or in the water. In
the water, typically feeds by swimming on the surface and tipping to reach food
items below the surface. On land, will forage in open fields and
Nesting: Different subspecies nest in different
areas, but typically builds a large cup-shaped nest of grasses, moss, and other
vegetation, lined with down and body feathers.
Breeding Map: Breeding information for South Dakota
unknown given the new split of the species, but in general, most Cackling Geese
breed in northwestern Alaska or Canada.
Song: Similar honking to Canada Geese, slightly higher
Migration: Winters throughout much of the western half
of the United States. In summer, breeds in northern and western Alaska,
and northern Canada.
Conservation Status: Not a conservation concern,
numbers are high.
Whatbird.com: Cackling Goose
Photo Information: Photo taken on May 22nd, 2014 near
Anchorage, Alaska - Terry Sohl