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AlexHenry

Goose Question

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Saw this bird in Oakland CA recently. It was so much smaller than nearby Canada Geese that without paying too much attention I assumed it was Cackling. Now looking at these pictures, it doesn't seem to fit - head and bill shape look more Canada to me.

Could this be some Canada Goose subspecies - perhaps Dusky? (would be quite rare in the area, but I can't make this bird fit with any of the Cackling subspecies).

DSCN3768.JPG

DSCN3775.JPG

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Looks like quite a good match to me (except long way south) and maybe a dark "Lesser" would fit the range better. I won't say the word "hybrid", oops I did.

I was really just giving this a bump and hopefully an expert will take a look.

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This looks like an Aleutian Cackling Goose. The breast is appropriately dark, there is a strong dark gular stripe, and the bill is relatively long for a Cackling. Some Aleutians lack white neck collars in November and December. 

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I'm struggling to see Aleutian here, usually Aleutians have a boxy head with a steep forehead. Aleutians are quite common in this area and this bird does not seem to fit. 

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50 minutes ago, AlexHenry said:

I'm struggling to see Aleutian here, usually Aleutians have a boxy head with a steep forehead. Aleutians are quite common in this area and this bird does not seem to fit. 

I agree, the head shape looks wrong for an Aleutian, but based on your description of the size and the shortish bill I think it has to be a CACG, and I’m not sure what other subspecies fits. 

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5 minutes ago, Phalarope713 said:

I agree, the head shape looks wrong for an Aleutian, but based on your description of the size and the shortish bill I think it has to be a CACG, and I’m not sure what other subspecies fits. 

Yeah you're probably right, it does seem like a Cackling Goose, its definitely not minima, fits pretty well with Aleutian, and Aleutian is most likely. Something about it is just throwing me off.

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If it's a Cackler, the best bet for the rounded head shape and dark breast would be Taverner's. However, that subsp typically has a thicker-based bill giving something of a "roman-nosed" appearance. Unfortunately, Richardson's and Taverner's have apparently met and are now mixing genes, making the differentiation of anything but classically-shaped individuals a bit problematic. BTW, Tav is the largest of the four subspecies of Cacklers.

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