Lesser Snow Goose
(Chen caerulescens caerulescens)


Picture of bird
© Chuck Kling
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

Lesser Snow Geese nest in colonies in the Arctic. There are three populations of Lesser Snow Geese: the Mid-continent Population, the Western Arctic Population and the Wrangel Island population. Lesser Snow Geese populations have increased dramatically since the 1970s and the populations are now subject to special conservation measure to control their numbers. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.

See also:

Greater Snow Goose


Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least Concern2012 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2010 
North American Waterfowl Management PlanAbove Population Goal 2012 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaLarge IncreaseHigh

Population estimate

Canada> 10,000,000 birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population


Conservation and management

Snow Goose populations have become so large since the 1970s that, in some areas, they are affecting the plant communities at staging areas and Arctic breeding grounds on which they and other species rely (Ankey 1996). These geese have the potential to alter Arctic habitats during spring and summer, cause crop depredation during fall and winter, and create potential dangers to other species and their habitats. Population increases are strongly believed to be tied to large-scale changes in land use, mainly involving the conversion of much of the North American landscape into agricultural crop land. Spillage from mechanized harvesting results in millions of bushels of waste grain lying on the ground, and geese are one group of birds that have greatly benefited from this superabundant food source. Harvest of Lesser Snow Goose increased following the implementation of special measures in 1999 but has stabilised during recent years (Alisauskas et al. 2011).


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
Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence PlainLower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain, sub-region and priority type: Quebec Region