Latin: Anser caerulescens caerulescens
Average length: M 29″, F 28″
Average weight: M 6.1 lbs., F 5.5 lbs.
Description: Lesser snow geese have two color phases: a dark (blue) plumage and a white (snow) plumage. The two color phases are variations within the same race and do not indicate separate races. The sexes are similar in appearance in both phases, but the female is often smaller. Lesser snow geese can hybridize with Ross’ geese, which are similar in appearance. They have pinkish bills with black grinning patches, and the feet and legs are reddish-pink. In the dark phase they have white heads and upper necks, with bluish-gray bodies. In the white phase they are completely white except for black wing tips. The head can be stained rusty brown from minerals in the soil where they feed. They are very vocal and can often be heard from more than a mile away.
Migrating and Wintering: Lesser snow geese historically migrated from their northern breeding grounds down the Pacific and Mississippi flyways, to winter in the Central Valley of California and the Gulf Coast of Texas, Louisiana and Mexico. There, the abundant emergent vegetation of the brackish and salt marshes provided both food and cover. Recently, they have expanded their winter range to interior agricultural lands in states such as Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, where corn, rice and pasture grasses provide abundant food supplies.