snow goose

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snow goose

a North American goose, Anser hyperboreus (or Chen hyperborea or A. caerulescens), having a white plumage with black wing tips

Snow Goose


(Chen caerulescens), a bird of the family Anatidae, order Anseriformes. Length, to 73 cm; weight, to 2.25 kg. Its plumage is white, and its first wing feathers are black. The beak and feet are red. The young are rusty gray with dark gray beaks and feet and assume adult markings in their fourth year.

The snow goose is distributed on the arctic shore of North America from Alaska to western Greenland, and in the USSR on Vrangel’ Island. It winters in the southern part of North America. Until the 19th century snow geese were numerous and widely distributed on the northern shore of eastern Siberia. Because of increased commercial exploitation (particularly of molting geese, which cannot fly) and the collection of its eggs, by the 20th century snow geese were preserved only on Vrangel’ Island, where up to 200,000 pairs (about half the world population of snow geese) nest. There is a wildlife preserve there, and hunting of snow geese is forbidden. Snow geese nest in colonies on dry parts of tundra near water. The nest is a small depression in the moss lined with grass. There are three to six eggs in a clutch. The female incubates the eggs. At the end of July snow geese gather in big flocks for molting.


Ptitsy Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 4. Edited by G. P. Dement’ev and N. A. Gladkov. Moscow, 1952.
Uspenskii, S. M., R. L. Beme, and A. G. Velizhanin. “Avifauna ostrova Vrangelia.” In Ornitologiia, vol. 6. Moscow, 1963.