Black head and neck is marked with distinctive white “chin strap” stretching from ear to ear. Like other geese, sexes look alike. South Carolina has three populations of Canada geese; a resident population and two migratory populations, both of which are considered to be interior geese. Richardson’s geese, which are the smallest, weighing 4-5 pounds are seldomly seen in South Carolina.
Both the adult and juvenile are grayish brown with tails edged with white. Adults have a distinct white face patch and barring on the belly that gives the bird its name. The yellowish legs and bill of the juvenile distinguish it from the juvenile blue goose.
The adult’s body is white with black wing tips, a pink bill with a dark grin patch and pinkish red legs. In early fall, the juvenile is dingy white with black wing tips. The dingy feathers are replaced last on the top of the head. The legs and bill of the juvenile are grayish brown.
The adult has a slate gray body with a white head, black wing tips, variable amounts of white on its belly, a pink bill and red legs. The juvenile has a sooty blue-gray body with a white chin spot and grayish brown legs and bill.
This goose looks like a small snow goose. Look for a smaller body size, a shorter bill and bumps at the base of the bill. The Ross’ goose lacks the dark grin patch of the snow goose bill.