Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Unknown Photographer
Photo Courtesy of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The cackling goose, Branta hutchinsii, appears to be a small Canada goose. In fact, the cackling goose was considered to be a subspecies of the Canada goose until recent genetic studies showed that it is a distinct species. The cackling goose migrates through Utah during its annual movements from its breeding grounds in northern Canada and Alaska to its wintering habitats in northern Mexico and the south-central United States. Some individuals may winter in Utah.

The cackling goose typically nests near water in tundra, with the nest consisting of a shallow depression in the ground covered with vegetation and down. Cackling geese feed primarily on aquatic plants and cultivated grains, although some invertebrates are also consumed.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.