Find the best places to hunt Ross's Geese in Canada. Discover their Physical Description, Range, Habitat, Food Source, Breeding Habits, and Status. 

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)Ross's Goose, Chen rossii LC

Range - Distribution and Habitat of the Ross's Goose:

Range of Ross's Goose
 Ross's Goose Range Map

Original Source of Map of North America from

Modified by:

The Ross’s Goose is a migratory native breeding resident of Canada. It breeds mostly in tundra habitats along the western coast of Hudson’s bay, on Southhamption Island on the northwest end of Hudson’s Bay and the Arctic Ocean mainland coastline in Nunavut in an area known as the Queen Maud Gulf where 95% of the breeding population exists. As far as breeding goes, it is rare to see it on James Bay and it has not been reported in Hudson Bay’s east coast nor the bay’s Belcher Islands.

If you refer to the distribution map you will see that it winters in four separate areas.

  • Along the gulf of Mexico Texan coast.
  • In North central Mexico, the south west corner of Arizona, parts of New Mexico and Northern Texas.
  • Southern California
  • North West California

During migrations and in the winter, it is found mainly around marshy lakes, shallow wetlands, grassy fields and agricultural fields. 

Description of Ross's Goose:

Ross's Goose
 goose ross
Ross's Goose - By DickDaniels ( (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Ross’s Goose is considered to be a small goose and it looks much like a small Snow Goose but it is about 20% smaller in size. In comparison the head of the Ross’s Goose is more rounded whereas the Snow Goose’s head appears to be elongated. It has a pink bill, along with pink feet, and it is completely white except for its flight feathers which are black.

This species has an overall length of 20.9 to 26 inches (53 to 66 cm.), a wingspan of 45 to 51.2 inches (114.3 to 130 cm.). Male will have a body mass of 2.7 to 4.14 lbs. (1.22 to 1.88 Kg.) while females will weigh 3.0 to 3.7 lbs. (1.37 to 1.66 kg.).

In the wild, the Ross’s Goose can live up to 22.5 years of age.

Diet and Foraging Strategy of the Ross’s Goose:

The Ross’s Goose is considered to be an herbivore whose diet is mainly moss, chickweed, and sedges. But you will find that it will forage on grasses, leaves, legumes, roots, sedges, stems, small grains and waste grains.

Adults like to feed on the new shoots of green vegetation that can be found on grasslands and it can also be found in agricultural fields feeding on grains.

Young chicks forage on insects and grass or sedge shoots.

Breeding and Reproduction of the Ross’s Goose:

The spring migration northward begins in March and they arrive on the breeding grounds in May and June.

This species only mates once a year and they tend to nest in loose colonies. The nesting period for this goose will change according to weather and snow melt but it is typically in the first 3 weeks of June.

The relationship between mated pairs is a monogamous one. The female constructs the nest and does it before and during the process of establishing its territory. It builds its nest in the arctic tundra and prefers to be around isolated lake islands or deltas. The female piles up a mound that may be made up of twigs, grass, moss, or lichens. It take her 36 hours to lay a single egg, and once her 3 to 5 eggs (average is 3.2±0.7) are laid. She will cover them with down and begin to incubate them. Only the female incubates the eggs and that takes 21 to 22 days to occur. However, the male will stand watch and help guard her and the nest during this process.

Chicks are born in an advanced state of development and although they can feed and swim as soon as they are dry. They will migrate south in mid-October. Remaining with their parents until the spring arrives.

Male and female members of the species reach sexual maturity at 2 to 3 years of age..

Status of Ross’s Goose:

The Ross’s Goose was assessed by BirdLife International in 2012 to be a species of Least Concern. Justification for this assessment on the Red List was because it has a very large range and the population appears to be increasing in size.


Ross’s Goose

© WoRMS for SMEBD - Source: World Register of Marine Species

© NatureServe - Source: NatureServe

Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources - Source: IUCN

© Joao Pedro de Magalhaes - Source: AnAge

© Wildscreen - Source: ARKive

Fisheries and Oceans Canada -

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency -

Population Status of Migratory Game Birds in Canada 2014 -

Foraging time and dietary intake by breeding Ross's and Lesser Snow Geese. -Gloutney, M.L., Alisauskas, R.T., Afton, A.D. et al. Oecologia (2001) 127: 78.

Queen Maud Gulf -



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