British Waterfowl Association

Emperor Goose

4 Emperor Geese
Emperor Geese — Barry Nicolle

Emperor Geese have long been popular in collections as they are naturally tame and confiding, while their beautiful plumage is the most attractive of their genus. They are amusing birds, the pairs staying close to each other and quietly conversing. To thrive they need clean water and good grazing. As birds of the arctic, they dislike heat, so do best in cool climates.

4 Emperor Geese standing on ice
Emperor Geese — Morag Jones

Anser canagicus

The handsome, stocky Emperor Goose is a resident of Alaska and north-eastern Siberia. It’s a maritime species, breeding on coastal tundra and migrating a relatively short distance, to winter principally in the Aleutian Islands and the Gulf of Alaska. With its white head and neck and barred blue-grey body, there’s no other goose it can be confused with. In the spring, the head and neck of wild birds often show rusty staining from foraging in peaty and iron-rich habitats.

2 Emperor Geese on ice
Emperor Geese — Ian Gereg
Juvenile Emperor Geese in a fieldd
Juvenile Emperor Geese — Phoebe Vaughan
Emperor goslings in a grazing pen
Hand-reared Emperor Goslings in a grazing pen — Ian Gereg

Given the right conditions, the female will lay her clutch of two to seven creamy white eggs in early summer. Incubation is for 24 or 25 days. Like their congeners, they make good parents.