Size Differences in Geese
- Canada geese are largely wild birds.Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
Black geese live mainly in and around the upper regions of North America, sometimes flying south during winter months. The most well-known of this group is the Canada goose, which offers both the largest and smallest birds of its kind. The giant Canada goose has been known to weigh as much as 24 pounds, while the lesser Canada goose (or cackling goose) can weigh fewer than 3 pounds.
- Greylags are some of the most popular domesticated geese.Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
China, Africa and Europe's most popular domestic breeds of goose descend from the grey variety, which live around the globe, mainly in the northern hemisphere. Grey geese differ from black geese largely in stature (grey geese tend to be bulkier, squatter) and in coloring (grey geese often have warm-toned, orange-colored beaks and legs, while black geese carry black and brown tones on the same parts). The largest breed of grey goose is the Toulouse goose, which can weigh up to 26 pounds. In turn, the Ross's goose can compete with the black cackling goose in size, as these birds have been known to weigh as little as 2.5 pounds.
- The emperor goose makes its home mainly in Russia and Alaska.Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Many ornithologists disagree about where to draw the line between the grey and white subspecies, and some argue that breeds like the Ross's goose belong to the white goose group as opposed to the grey goose. In many ways, both grey and white geese look very much alike, save the lighter coloring of the white goose and its generally smaller form. Indeed, both the lesser snow goose and emperor goose (the main subspecies of the white group) can weigh anywhere from 4 to 6 pounds.