Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hybrid Geese Beautiful But Confusing

What kind of Goose is that?
There are two Hybrid Identifications to make in this post.

The second hybrid followed this whiter taller version around today.

June 2010

This goose was in a retention pond
here in DeKalb, Illinois.

In a another sighting earlier this spring I saw two different unique geese ..
locally and thought them to be Leucistic or Albino.
One of them may have been a hybrid. You can see that post with pictures here.

This sighting I am leaning toward a hybrid mixture verses leucism.
It's a learning process. I'm learning.

A rear view .... nice football shaped rump,
and three toned marbled tail feathers.

My first guess was a Snow x Canada Hybrid
but then why the orange eye ring?
Neither a Canadian Goose or Snow goose have one.
Both the Snow & Canadian geese have black beaks and feet.

This beauty has an orange beak, feet and eye ring.
Mostly white feathers that are marbled with gray, black and beige.

About the size of a Canadian Goose.

Hangs out with Canadian geese.

Obviously I think Canadian goose is one of the mixes.

Next I noticed the neck texture.
Greylag Geese have that texture on their neck.
They also have the orange beak and eye ring in addition to a pudgy rump.
I think the coloring of a Greylag goose matches the marbled feathers on the hybrid.
It could be a Canada x Greylag Hybrid.

However the Domestic goose has that pudgy rump, neck texture and is all white.
It also has an orange beak, feet and eye ring.
Could also be a Domestic x Canada Hybrid.
or a Domestic x Greylag Hybrid.

Here is the second hybrid goose.
It is smaller with darker feathers. It has that ruffled neck texture.
Notice that the neck is shorter.

There is the football rump, and orange beak.

The beak has that white fronted ring around it
and shines with tinges of black and pink.

It's eye ring is lighter, white.

There are the orange feet also a pinkish tint.

This hybrid has a grayish cheek patch like that of the Canadian goose.

The smaller hybrid followed the larger one around during my visit.

It appeared to me that they were together.

The white fronted ring seems prominent to me.
Maybe a Lesser White Fronted x Canada Goose.
Domestic x Lesser White fronted

Another Wondering Wednesday
If you know ....
I welcome your input and knowledge


  1. This goose has been around for a couple of years. He used to hang out around the Y until they started construction on the cancer center. We had been wondering where he was and then I saw him just a week ago over by the Law Office on Bethany. We (friends and our kids) had named him Aflac back when he was by the Y. I was glad to see he was still around and the Canada Geese let him hang with them. I had never noticed the other hybrid before. Oh and I just call him he because I was used to. Not sure about that.

  2. Ha, well I haven't been good about going to the Y the past few years. Need to. I saw 'him' in the retention pond near the Dunkin Donuts early this month. Ran back home to get my camera. He is gorgeous isn't he?

    Thanks for the view ladies :)

  3. At first I thought Aflac was mixture of Canada goose and something but didn't know that geese would breed with other types of geese so I thought he was a snow goose, I had seen that they do hang out with Canada Geese, but did not know about the particulars. Thanks for all the info. When we used to watch them Aflac would hang out with one canada goose so we thought they were mated, but did see that other guy/girl that didn't quite fit in and wondered if that was a baby? or what. It's awesome you took the time to study these guys! thanks!

  4. Thank you Kerri!

    And thanks Tracy for linking the post on FB to Candi, appreciate the views and comments ladies. Candi I read on FB how your son named the second hybrid Bob ... too cute. Ben would be funny too ;) hehee.

  5. Wonderful photographs of all the hybrids. Interesting mixes. Great post ... as always!

  6. Found this while searching for Cannada x Greylag hybrids. Definitely some bar-headed goose in the white one.

  7. I believe both birds are hybrids between Canada Goose and domestic Greylag Goose. I can see why Oscar suggests Bar-headed Goose involvement for the white one, however I think the resemblence is coincidental. With such white birds it's often difficult to be sure of the Canada involvement, but I think this has enough dark in the neck to confirm that. The other parent has to be a domestic goose in view of the very pale plumage, particularly on the primaries which would be darker on any non-domestic goose, and the bulky rear end and bright bare parts.

    The darker bird looks much more like a typical Canada x Greylag Goose hybrid, however it also seems to have a bulky rear end and so I suspect the Greylag parent is again a domestic variant. The pale around the bill is not unusual for Canada x Greylag hybrids, especially when the Greylag is domestic - it's a feature that most of the 'grey' geese can show, not just the White-fronted Geese. Although this bird appears smaller than the white one, it doesn't look too small for this hybrid - just as domestic geese vary in size so may their hybrids.

    Thanks for the link to my site!

  8. I agree with Dave, I'm almost positive that both geese are the result of a Canada goose x Domestic goose hybrid. I've grown very close over the years to the flock of geese across from my house, and in 2009 and 2010, a female Canada goose bred with a domestic male goose, and raised a clutch of four and five goslings, respectively. In the first, there were two darker birds that more closely resembled their Canada goose heritage, and two white/marbled birds that looked much more like their domestic father. All four can fly, and the single male, (who is dark) has a large white patch on his chest. All of their honks resemble those of Canada geese, but their voices often "crack", and the three females can cluck like domestic geese. The following clutch in 2010 contained two darker birds, two completely gray/marbled birds, and one white female. Again, they all can fly, and all have similar calls. The males are substantially larger than their sisters, hinting to their domestic heritage. In the females of both clutches, there is a slight hint of the lobes that domestic geese have.

    Hope this helps!