Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Moffitt's Canada Goose

I previously did a post on the Atlantic Canada goose and noted that there are seven subspecies of Canada goose and a goose that used to be considered a Canada goose and is now known as the cackling goose, its own distinct species, which is smaller and has four subspecies of its own. The size of these geese and their long necks eliminated the cackling goose. 
Moffitt's Canada geese near Alamosa, Colorado.
The pictured Canada geese were photographed in August near Alamosa, Colorado near the Rio Grande River. Because identifying Canada geese is so difficult I went to a Colorado publication to try and winnow down the number of subspecies. I used Separation of Canada and Cackling Geese in Colorado by Lawrence S. Semo and Robert Righter published in October 2006 and found here. Page 209 describes Moffitt's Canada goose. Moffit's Canada goose is large; has a long, dished bill; a white cheek patch which is often hooked toward the rear crown (and unlike the Lesser Canada goose, the white patch does not extend forward to meet the bill); a long neck; few have a white neck collar; and most have a clean break between the breast and the neck (without the white neck collar).  It is one of the two most common Canada geese in Colorado, the other being the Lesser Canada goose which is a migrant and winter resident, usually arriving in the fall. 
The white cheek patches are hooked toward the rear crown and it has a clean break between the breast and the neck. 

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