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< >  Anser canagica - Emperor goose (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Anser canagicus
Beach Goose
Oie empereur (French)
Kaisergans (German)
Ansar Emperador (Spanish)
Ganso emperador (Spanish)

Names for newly-hatched

Gosling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B3, B4, B8, B19, B25, B26.

Aviculture references:
B7, B29, B30, B31, B40, B94, B95, B96, B97,B108, B128.w1, B129
D1, D8

Other References

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Aviculture Information

Notes

General information:
  • Northern (True) Geese are generally hardy and easy to manage. They are usually gregarious and many species may be kept in flocks, however they tend to be territorial and aggressive in the breeding season and some may need to be maintained in separate pens. It is often possible to keep small ducks with pairs of geese, unless the individual goose pair is particularly pugnacious. They should always be provided with adequate water for swimming.
  • For a single pair of geese a total pen area of 300mē (or 200mē  for smaller species, e.g. Branta ruficollis - Red-breasted goose), with at least 20% of this area water is suggested, although more water should be provided if possible in a larger pen (D1).
  • Geese are grazers and should have access to good short grass (less than 3 inches, 7.5cm long) for grazing. When grass is scarce, it may be supplemented with greenfood such as cabbage, lettuce etc.; alfalfa pellets have also been used for this purpose. Additional grain and pellets should be given, with a change to breeder pellets in the breeding season, at which time less or no grain may be fed. Breeding success may be decreased if these species are allowed to become too fat and this can be problematic particularly for the species which normally breed in the high Arctic.
  • Goslings may be parent hatched and reared, although being mainly terrestrial they are more vulnerable to predation than are cygnets. Whether parent or hand-reared, goslings should be provided with unlimited grazing and other green food such as chopped lettuce, as well as starter crumbs.
  • Geese species may hybridise with one another, but this is not usually a problem if they are well paired before being mixed with other birds.

(B7, B29, B30, B40, B94, B95, B108, B128.w1, B129, D1)

Species-specific information:

  • Emperor geese are winter - hardy and easy to manage. A large area of grazing and lake of clear water preferred. They defend their nesting territory, therefore should be maintained in large area and a separate pen may be preferred for breeding. Good grazing will provide most of their food, with grain, pellets, bread and additional greenfood.
  • These geese are easily bred in captivity. They nest in short grass with islands favoured for nesting, and they may also use ground-level nest boxes. Egg laying may begin end of April (Slimbridge, UK), early May (Tierpark Berlin, Germany), end of May/early June (Peakirk, UK). Goslings are best pest parent-incubated and parent-reared. Goslings are fast growing and easy to rear, but need shelter protection from excessive heat and strong sunlight.
  • This species is known to hybridise occasionally with other Anser spp., and hybrids also reported with Branta bernicla - Brent goose and Chloephaga picta - Upland goose (Magellan goose); singletons will often pair with Anser caerulescens - Snow goose (lesser) or Anser rossii - Ross's goose: best maintained apart or with species not closely related until paired .

(B7, B29, B31, B96, B97, B108, D1)

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme suggested average closed ring size: R 16.0mm (S 18.0mm for some males) (D8).

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 26-30 inches, 66-89cm (B3, B1)
Adult weight General 2766-3129g (B1)
Male Average 2812g (B3); mean 6.2 lbs. (B8).
Female Average 2766g (B3); mean 6.1 lbs.
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Pink with bluish around nostrils and white nail.
Variations (If present) --
Eyes (Iris) Male Dark brown.
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Blackish.
Eyes (Iris) Dark brown

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Legs

Adult Male Orange.
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Olive-grey.

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Plumage

Adult Male Head and hindneck white. Throat and foreneck black. Whole body grey with black subterminal bars and white edges on feathers giving ‘scalloped’ pattern. Tail white. Wing coverts as body, flight feathers grey-black.
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Head and neck dark grey and mottled, body dull sooty/brownish grey with indistinct feather markings.

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts grey, underparts whitish.
Bill: Grey
Feet: Grey.

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Begin late May to June.
No. of Clutches --

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Nest placement and structure

On the ground, a shallow depression, lining of grass, feathers and down.

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 5 (B1).
Range 1-8 (B1); 4-6 (B8).
Egg Description Creamy white. Size: 76 x 52mm, weight: 120g. (B3, B8)

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Incubation

24-25 days (B1); 24-27 days (B8)

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Hatching

Synchronous.

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Fledging

50-60 days (B1); 48-55 days (B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males Three, rarely two years old.
Females Three, rarely two years old.

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Mainly grazing on land.
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building By female. In very loose colonies.
Incubation By female, male stands guard.
Newly-hatched Tended by both parents. Lost or abandoned goslings sometimes 'adopted' and broods sometimes amalgamate.
Juveniles

Remain with parents until the next breeding season.

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Gather in large flocks when migrating and in winter. Nest in very loose colonies.
Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

Strong permanent pair bonds.

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Predation in Wild

Gulls and jaegers.

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Activity Patterns

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Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

Breeding: grasses, leaves of sedges, berries, plus seaweed, algae and barnacles along coasts.

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Newly-hatched

Aquatic insects and marsh grasses initially, later also berries.

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal

North-eastern Siberia, western Alaska.

Migratory, to Aleutian Islands, Gulf of Alaska and (in smaller numbers) Kamchatka.

Occasional and Accidental

Occasionally further south: reported from California, Hawaii and Japan.

Introduced

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Habitat

Breeding on ponds and lakes on inland mosses and sedges tundra, and coastal brackish lagoons in grassy tundra. In the winter, found on marshes, wet prairies and flooded fields.

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Not globally threatened, but the western Alaskan population has declined (B1).

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats Vulnerable to oil spills due to restricted range (B8).

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Captive Populations

Common in collections.

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Trade

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