Greater Snow Goose
(Chen caerulescens atlanticus)


Picture of bird
© Gilles Gonthier - License
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

Greater Snow Geese breed in the Canadian Eastern High Arctic, with the largest nesting colony on Bylot Island, Nunavut. During migration, the entire population stages in the marshes and agricultural lands of southern Quebec, but a small part of the population recently began to migrate through eastern Ontario and northern New Brunswick. The Greater Snow Goose population has undergone a dramatic increase from a few thousand individuals in the 1930s to one million birds in 1999. Greater Snow Geese have now been designated as "overabundant" and have been subject to higher bag and possession limits, and a special spring hunting season was implemented to control their numbers.

See also:

Lesser Snow Goose


Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
North American Waterfowl Management PlanAbove Population Goal 2012 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaLarge IncreaseHigh

Population estimate

Canada500,000 - 1,000,000 birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population

CanadaVery High

Conservation and management

In an effort to stop population growth and reduce population size of Greater Snow Geese, higher bag and possession limits, were put in place in the fall of 1998 in Quebec. A spring huting season was also established in 1999 in Quebec, and was extended to Ontario in 2012. Following the implementation of these measures, the growth of the Greater Snow Goose population appears to have stabilized (Reed and Calvert 2007). 


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type