Aleutian cackling goose

Aleutian cackling goose

Aleutian cackling goose


Branta hutchinsii leucopareia

The Aleutian cackling goose (Branta hutchinsii leucopareia ), is a small subspecies of the cackling goose averaging 1.7 to 2.1 kilograms (3.7 to 4.6 lb) in weight. It was one of 122 species of animals, birds, and fish first documented for science by the Lewis and Clark Expedition (Corps of Discovery).


The Aleutian cackling goose has the typical black head and neck, white cheek patches, grayish brown back and wings, white rump, black tail feathers, legs, and feet of the species. It is distinguished by a conspicuous white neck ring at the base of the neck that, in adult plumage, is usually greater than 10 mm (0.39 in) wide and is subtended by a ring of darker feathers. The cheek patches are usually separated by a black line under the throat and the breast is a pale grayish-brown color, although a small number of lighter- and darker-breasted birds occur. The westernmost population did not appreciably differ in color, except that the neck ring was always very wide and white in the few attested specimens.

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Similar in appearance is the small cackling goose (B. h. minima ), which is smaller in size and has a dark breast color with a purplish or brownish cast, whereas Taverner's cackling goose (B. h. taverneri ) is larger and has a lighter breast color. Both B. h. minima and B. h. taverneri sometimes have white neck rings, but these are usually narrow or indistinct.

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Habits and Lifestyle

Bird's call

Diet and Nutrition

Mating Habits

Aleutian cackling geese typically arrive in California in mid-October each year. The majority of the population goes right to its primary wintering areas in the Central Valley. However, since 2002, a relatively small (1500-5000) number of geese spend fall and winter on the northern coast. Around late December, the geese wintering in the Central Valley begin moving north, and by mid-February, most of the Aleutian cackling goose population is located in northwestern California until they depart for the Aleutian Islands in mid-April. As of 2004, Humboldt County began receiving the majority of Aleutian cackling geese on the northwestern coast from January through April.



The primary threat to the Aleutian cackling goose has been the Arctic fox, introduced to the Aleutian Islands by Russian fur traders between 1836 and 1930. The Aleutian cackling goose was considered extinct until a colony was discovered on Buldir Island in 1962. Since then, the Aleutian cackling goose has made a comeback and was removed from the endangered species list in 2001.


1. Aleutian cackling goose Wikipedia article -
2. Xeno-canto bird call -

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