I initially thought this bird might be a Cackling Goose Branta canadensis minima, but as Alvaro Jaramillo has pointed out, this bird looks too bulky for that form, with neck and legs that are too long and a bill that is too big, and it is probably a better match for Lesser Canada Goose B. c. parvipes/taverneri.  The moderately dark underparts and black line on the throat, bisecting the white chinstrap, suggest this bird is a taverneri.  For comparison, some recent photographs of Cackling Geese can be found here and photographs of Aleutian Geese can be found here.  Many thanks to Alvaro for his comments.  All comments on the identification of these birds are gratefully received (e-mail me).

1. Possible Taverner's Canada Goose Branta canadensis taverneri, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, USA, November 26, 2003.  Although clearly a small and dingy Canada Goose, actual size was hard to judge because, in this urban setting, there were no other Canada Geese or other waterfowl around to compare it with.  The neck is relatively short, the head box-shaped and the bill looks proportionately short and deep.  The blurry demarcation between black neck and brown breast, and the crisp edges indicate this bird is a juvenile.

2. Possible Taverner's Canada Goose B. c. taverneri, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, USA, November 26, 2003.  Same individual as above.  The breast looks quite dark and the white chinstrap is fairly narrow and dull-looking.

3. Possible Taverner's Canada Goose B. c. taverneri, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, USA, November 26, 2003.  Same individual as above.  Note that the white chinstrap is completely bisected by a wide black stripe down the middle of the throat - this was visible in the field and appeared not to be simply the result of shadow on the underside of the head.

New photos added 01-01-2004:

4. Possible Taverner's Canada Goose B. c. taverneri, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, USA, December 6, 2003.  Same individual as above.  This bird was still present on December 6, when light conditions were better for photography.

5. Possible Taverner's Canada Goose B. c. taverneri, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, USA, December 6, 2003.  Same individual as above.  Again note the thick black stripe on the chin, bisecting the white chinstrap.

6. Possible Taverner's Canada Goose B. c. taverneri, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, USA, December 6, 2003.  Same individual as above.

© Stephen J. Davies

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