Juvenile molting into breeding plumage.
© Gregg Thompson
  • Juvenile molting into breeding plumage.
  • Juvenile molting into breeding plumage.

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Emperor Goose

Chen canagica
The swans, geese and ducks are mid-sized to large birds most commonly found on or near water. Most have plump bodies, long necks and short wings. Most feed while on the water, diving or merely tilting their bodies so that their heads and necks are submerged to search for fish, plants and invertebrates. Washington representatives of the order all belong to one family:
The waterfowl family is represented in Washington by two distinct groups—the geese and swans, and the ducks. Whistling-ducks are also considered a distinct subfamily, and, although they have not been sighted in Washington in many years, Fulvous Whistling-Ducks have been recorded historically in Washington and remain on the official state checklist. All members of the waterfowl family have large clutches of precocial young. They hatch covered in down and can swim and eat on their own almost immediately after hatching.
Casual winter visitor. Washington Bird Records Committee review list species.
  • Species of Concern

General Description

A handsome, gray-bodied goose with white head and black throat, the Emperor Goose is intermediate in size between Snow Goose and Ross’s Goose, its close relatives. A short, thick neck, smallish head, and short bill contribute to its heavy-bodied appearance. The Emperor Goose breeds along the Bering Sea coastline in Alaska and Siberia and winters south to Kamchatka, the Aleutians, and the Gulf of Alaska, with small numbers regularly straying farther south along the Pacific Coast as far as California. In Washington it is a frequent, though not annual, winter visitor, most often on sheltered waters along the Pacific and North Olympic coasts but also near Puget Sound and on the Columbia River floodplain near Vancouver, often in the company of other geese.

Revised June 2007

North American Range Map

North America map legend

Federal Endangered Species ListAudubon/American Bird Conservancy Watch ListState Endangered Species ListAudubon Washington Vulnerable Birds List
Yellow List

View full list of Washington State's Species of Special Concern