What do Canadian Geese Eat? – Canada Goose Diet

November 19, 2017
1 min read

Canada geese are herbivores. The green monocots make up the bulk of their diet including sedges, grasses and the like. Vancouver Canada geese prefer to eat American yellow-skunk-cabbage and leaves of blueberries. So now let’s discover more in what do Canadian Geese like to eat!

Canada Goose Diet – What Do Canadian Geese Eat?

In Quebec (along James Bay), they tend to eat plant material of spike-rush, Carex mackenziei, burreed leaves, sea-lyme grass, berries and seeds of mountain cranberry and black crowberry. B. c. interior on James Bay feeds mostly on the leaves of Sparganium sp. but it also eats some other plant material like Carex spp., leaves of Ericaceae, Empetraceae Eleocharis spp., seeds and berries. After fall migration, the agricultural grains (corn) make up nearly 70 to 80 percent of the diet of B. c. interior.

During summer and spring, Canadian geese eat leaves of skunk cabbage, eelgrass and other sedges and grasses. In winter, the diet predominantly consists of agricultural grains like corns.

What Do Canadian Geese Eat in the Winter?

In winter and fall, the intake of carbohydrates increases and Canadian Geese tend to feed more on agricultural grains and berries. During winter, the juveniles of B. c. minima mainly eat alfalfa and winter wheat while the adult birds feed mostly on barley.

During November, the Canada goose feeds on spike-rush leaves, barnyard grass seeds, knotweed seeds and seeds of  foxtail. The food items during the rest of the winter consist almost exclusively of winter wheat, sorghum grains and corn. Thus, corn makes up the bulk of the diet in winter.

In spring, the geese tend to feed more on green vegetation rather than agricultural grains. The flock of geese forage for alfalfa fields, cornfields (95 percent waste corn kernels), pastures, hayfields, timothy grass, brome grass and oats. When the grains are scarce, Interior Canada geese eat green vegetation (leaves and stems).

Atlantic Canada geese like to eat eelgrass of shallow waters in Canadian Maritimes.

What do Baby Canadian Geese Eat?

The goslings of Interior Canada goose prefer to eat green leaves of graminoids. In summer, goslings of Giant Canada goose feed almost exclusively on these leaves. The goslings of B. c. minima go after the leaves of marsh arrowgrass.

You might be interested in


Mowbray, Thomas B., Craig R. Ely, James S. Sedinger and Robert E. Trost. 2002. Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.cangoo.02

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