Snow Goose

Anser caerulescens (Linnaeus, 1758) SJ SNOGO 1630
Family: Anseriformes > Anatidae

Snow Goose, Simon Gillings

Previously only a rare visitor from North America (where numbers have increased markedly), there is now a small, self-sustaining population of this white goose in Argyll.

The Snow Goose occurs in two colour morphs: a 'white' (light) morph and a 'blue' (dark) morph, controlled by a single gene.

Most of the Snow Geese present in Britain are individuals that have escaped from captivity, but a handful of genuine vagrants arrive with visiting Pink-Footed Geese. The breeding range extends from eastern Siberia, across arctic North America to Greenland.


Snow Goose identification is often straightforward.

Develop your bird ID skills with our training courses

Our interactive online courses are a great way to develop your bird identification skills, whether you're new to the hobby or a competent birder looking to hone your abilities.

Browse training courses

Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.




Although small numbers of genuine vagrant Snow Geese are recorded annually, the majority of individuals recorded during 2007–11 were escapes from captivity. The records of wild Snow Geese are most likely to occur at traditional staging or wintering areas of Pink-footed Geese. The breeding records are all of birds of captive origin and tend to be at sites with ornamental lakes; the only apparently self-sustaining populations were those in Argyll, on northwestern Mull and Coll in the Inner Hebrides.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK



The year-round presence of Snow Geese is a complicated mixture of naturalised residents and a small number of presumed vagrants from North America, the latter most often seen in winter with wild winter goose flocks.

Weekly occurence of Snow Goose from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.


Lifecycle and body size information about Snow Goose, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.


Sample sizes are too small to report Productivity and Nesting statistics for this species.


View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Gaelic: Gèadh-bàn
Welsh: Gwydd yr Eira
Catalan: oca de les neus
Czech: husa snežní
Danish: Snegås
Dutch: Sneeuwgans
Estonian: lumehani
Finnish: lumihanhi
French: Oie des neiges
German: Schneegans
Hungarian: sarki lúd
Icelandic: Snjógæs
Irish: Gé Shneachta
Italian: Oca delle nevi
Latvian: sniega zoss
Lithuanian: sniegine žasis
Norwegian: Snøgås
Polish: sniezyca duza
Portuguese: ganso-das-neves
Slovak: hus snežná
Slovenian: snežna gos
Spanish: Ánsar nival
Swedish: snögås

Links to more information from

Would you like to search for another species?