Arizona White-cheeked Geese: The Canada vs. Cackling Goose Identification Challenge

Notes | By Pierre Deviche | Accepted January 01, 2008

In 2004 the American Ornithological Union divided Canada Goose into two species, Canada Goose, Branta canadensis, and Cackling Goose, B. hutchinsii. The Canada Goose is currently divided into seven subspecies and the Cackling Goose into four subspecies. Some of these forms are easy to identify whereas other create more of a challenge. Fortunately for Arizona birders, not all Canada and Cackling Goose subspecies are likely to be encountered in the state. Two forms of Canada and three forms of Cackling are the most likely. Here we present information on how to differentiate the forms that are most likely to be observed in Arizona.