Emperor Goose

Emperor goose

Emperor Geese are also known as Beach Geese because they prefer coastal habitats. They are also called Painted Geese because of their beautiful feathers. 

Male and Female Emperor Geese look alike. They both have pure white heads and napes (the back of the neck), pink bills, black chins and throats, blue-gray bodies with scalloped patterning, yellow-orange legs, and white tails.

The heads of Emperor Geese turn reddish-brown or orange during the summer when they feed in tidal pools with iron oxide. 

Juveniles have duller coloring. They have dark heads and necks. Their bills are grayish-black, and their legs are darker in color. 

  • Anser canagicus
  • Length: 26 – 28 in (66 – 71 cm)
  • Weight: 110.37 oz (3128 g)
  • Wingspan: 48 – 56 in (122 – 142 cm)


Emperor Geese breed and spend winter in the north, around the Bering Sea in the arctic and sub-arctic.

Habitat And Diet

You can find the Emperor Goose in freshwater tidal pools, inland lakes, and coastal lagoons during the summer. In winter, they live in mudflats, rocky shores, and coastal tundra.

The diet of Emperor Geese varies depending on their location and season. During the breeding and nesting season, they forage totally on land and feed on grasses, sedges, berries, roots, and bulbs.

During winter, they forage by “puddling” where they stamp their feet on mudflats to dislodge clams. When they’re on or near water, they eat crustaceans, bivalve mollusks, barnacles, eelgrass, and sea lettuce. 

Emperor Goose Call:


Nests of Emperor Geese are usually shallow depressions in the ground among the marshes. The female lines the nest with leaves and her own feathers and lays around four to six eggs in the nest.

But she may still lay up to eight more eggs in other Emperor Geese’s nests…gutsy!

Incubation takes twenty-four days by the female. When the goslings hatch, they can walk, swim and feed themselves after a few hours.  

Fun Fact:

The Emperor Goose gets its name from the adult’s white crown and nape, which resemble the ermine trim on a royal cloak.