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Giant Canada goose facts for kids

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Branta canadensis maxima
Tierpark Cottbus Riesenkanadagans.JPG
A giant Canada goose at the Cottbus Zoo in Germany
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Branta
B. c. maxima
Trinomial name
Branta canadensis maxima
(Delacour, 1951)

The giant Canada goose (Branta canadensis maxima) is the largest subspecies of Canada goose, weighing in at 5 kg (11 pounds). It is found in central North America. These geese were at one point considered extinct, but were later rediscovered.


The giant Canada goose is often mistaken for the Moffitt's Canada goose. However, giant geese have both a lower call and a larger bill to body size ratio. Another good identifier includes the black on the neck, which starts much farther up the neck than any other subspecies. The giant goose's white cheek patch is very large, reaching the lower bill. Unlike other variants, the underbelly is very pale. A less reliable identifier is the white forehead and eyebrows, which don't always occur and Moffitt's geese less commonly have.


The giant Canada goose is occasionally classified with the Moffitt's Canada goose, forming a singular subspecies. It is also, alongside the dusky Canada goose, the closest relative to the Hawaiian goose.


In the 1950s, the giant Canada goose was declared extinct. However, a small population in Rochester, Minnesota was rediscovered by biologists in 1962. In recent years, the subspecies' numbers have been increasing and can commonly be found in parks and other urban areas. It is also thought that introduced populations of Canada geese in Europe are derived from B. c. maxima in addition to the nominate subspecies canadensis.

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