Presentation on theme: "Taxonomy & Systematics of the Canada Goose and Cackling Goose & their Subspecies By Jessica Tompkins."— Presentation transcript:
Taxonomy & Systematics of the Canada Goose and Cackling Goose & their Subspecies By Jessica Tompkins
Division of Species The Canada Goose used to be divided into subspecies based on color and size. In 2004, the 45 th Supplement to the AOU Checklist of North American Birds divided the Canada Goose into two species, the Canada Goose and the Cackling Goose, along with 12 subspecies.
Three-group system Canada Goose- large-sized subspecies. –Atlantic, Interior, Giant, Moffit’s, Vancouver, and Dusky Lesser Canada Goose- intermediate-sized subspecies. –B. c. parvipes and B. c. taverneri Tundra Goose- small-sized subspecies. –Richarson’s, Bering (extinct), Aleutian, and Cackling
Discovery of the New Goose Analysis of mitochondrial DNA lead the Utah Ornithological Society to divide the Canada Goose into two species on their checklist. The 12 subspecies of Canada Goose had to be divided between the two.
Two-group System Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsli) –Richarson’s, Bering, Aleutian, Cackling, and B. h. taverneri Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) –Atlantic, Interior, Giant, Moffit’s, Vancouver, Dusky, and B. c. parvipes
Key Marks for Identification Size Color Length of the neck Bill size White collar Dark chinstrap
Subspecies Description Canada Goose subspecies- –B. c. canadensis (Atlantic) – Second largest subspecies averaging 7 to 9 lbs. Breeds in SE Canada and NE USA. Long neck White collar sometimes present Strong contrast between neck and breast Paler underside Long bill
Atlantic Canada Goose
Subspecies Description Canada Goose Subspecies- –B. c. interior (Interior or Todd’s) – Very abundant. average size is 7.5 to 9.5 lbs. Breeds in Greenland, NE Manitoba, and southeast of the Hudson Bay. Very long neck Long, shallow bill White collar in uncommon Darker in color than Atlantic with less contrast between neck and breast.
Interior Canada Goose Large goose in middle is the Interior Canada Goose
Subspecies Description Canada Goose Subspecies – –B. c. moffitti (Moffitt’s or Great Basin)- Average size is 8 to 14 lbs. Very abundant in the Western US. Often nests in abandoned hawk and heron nests. Very long neck White collar White markings on forehead Dark chinstrap
Moffitt’s Canada Goose
Subspecies Description Canada Goose Subspecies – –B. c. maxima (Giant) – Average size 14 to 15 lbs. Largest of the Canada Geese and was once thought to be extinct. Breeds in all states east of the Mississippi River. Very long neck Large bill Pale overall Rarely has white collar White spots or band on forehead
Giant Canada Goose
Subspecies Description Canada Goose Subspecies – – B. c. occidentalis ( Dusky Canada Goose) – Average size 8 to 10 lbs. Breeds in Alaska. Populations have always been small. Dark overall Seldom white collar Brownish breast feathers unlike gray Smaller bill Short neck
Dusky Canada Goose
Subspecies Description Canada Goose Subspecies – –B. c. fulva ( Vancouver Canada Goose ) – Average size 6 to 10 lbs. 90 % of this species don’t migrate. Don’t have white collars Small bill Pale overall
Vancouver Canada Goose
Subspecies Description Canada Goose Subspecies – –B. c. parvipes (Lesser Canada Goose) – Average size 5 to 6lbs. Breeds in Alaska. Pale breast Short legged Short neck Some may have partial to full neck rings
Lesser Canada Goose
Subspecies Description Cackling Goose Subspecies – –B. h. taverneri ( Taverner’s or Lesser Cackling Goose) – Average size 4.5 to 6 lbs. Breeds in Alaska. Short legged Chin stripe that separates the white cheeks No ring around neck
Taverner’s Cackling Goose
Subspecies Description Cackling Goose Subspecies – –B. h. hutchinsii (Richardson’s Cackling Goose) – Average size 3 to 7 lbs. Breeds in the artic tundra. Short neck Seldom white collar Short legged Square shaped head Palest of the all Canada/Cackling geese
Richardson’s Cackling Goose
Subspecies Description Cackling Goose Subspecies – – B. h. minima ( Cackling Goose ) – Average size 3 to 4 lbs. Breeds mostly in western Alaska. Has a very distinctive high-pitched cackling call. Small bill Short neck long legged Very dark overall Purplish sheen to breast that blends with neck
Subspecies Description Cackling Goose Subspecies – –B. h. leucopareia (Aleutian Canada Goose )- Average size 4 to 6 lbs. Breeds in the Aleutian Islands. Endangered subspecies. Short neck and bill Thick, complete ring around neck Black chin strap Large forehead
Aleutian Cackling Goose
Subspecies Description Cackling Goose Subspecies – –B. h. asiatica ( Bering Cackling Goose ) – Now Extinct. Last observation – Japan 1929 Rumors of nesting in 1966 –Extinction due to hunting and introduction of rats to nesting islands. –Taxonomic status uncertain
Leucistic Form Black is replaced with gray in all or some of the feathering.
Pros Increase interest from birders which in turn is good for conservation and understanding identification.
Cons Identification is hard and problematic. Not all agree and this makes it hard on states and federal committees. Interbreeding of western and eastern populations of geese can cause mixing of genes.
The Future Very little research on the classification of the Canada and Cackling Goose has been conducted. This could be a result of difficult field identification. Now that the new species is classified more studies will be performed in the future. There are other small populations of geese that may be classified as new subspecies with continued research.