Ross's Goose
(Anser rossii)


Picture of bird
© Ken Billington - License
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The Ross’s Goose breeds mainly in the Queen Maud Gulf Region in the central Canadian Arctic, but its numbers are increasing along the western coast of Hudson Bay, and on Southampton and Baffin islands. The species' wintering range has also expanded eastward from historical wintering areas in California. Considered a rare species in the early part of the last century, Ross’s Goose has shown increasing numbers since the 1960s, and is among the fastest growing populations of Arctic-nesting geese in recent years. These geese have a very high survival and low harvest rates, which have been helping to sustain rapid population increases. The Ross’s Goose was declared overabundant in the Mid-continent region of the United States in 1999 and in western Canada in 2014. Lincoln estimates of population size averaged almost 1.9 million adults from 2012-2016. Hunting does not represent a threat to this species, although the harvest of the Ross’s Goose in Canada and the United States increased slowly from the 1960s to the 1980s, and then more rapidly through the 1990s. The Ross' Goose is above the highest acceptable level relative to its national population goal. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLarge IncreaseHighAbove Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada1,000,000 - 5,000,000 birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery High

Conservation and management

Increasing numbers of Ross’s Geese have contributed to alteration of their breeding and staging areas through foraging and nest-building activities (Alisauskas et al. 2006; Alisauskas et al. 2012). In Canada, the Ross’s Goose was designated as “overabundant” in June 2014. Harvest were liberalized and special conservation seasons were established in the spring of 2015. In the United States, special conservation measures have been in place for Ross’s Geese since 1999.


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
Arctic Plains and MountainsArctic Plains and Mountains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Other
Boreal Taiga PlainsBoreal Taiga Plains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Conservation
Prairie PotholesPrairie Potholes, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Management