Migratory Bird Program
Conserving the Nature of America
Focal Species

Emperor Goose (Chen canagica)

The Emperor Goose (Chen canagica) has been identified as a focal species of management concern because of a very restricted range, small population size, and serious population declines since the 1960s. This species is distributed in remote coastal habitats of Alaska and eastern Russia. The breeding range of the Emperor Goose in North America is restricted to coastal areas (tundra, salt marshes, and estuarine habitats) of the Bering Sea, with the largest concentration on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in Alaska.

They migrate relatively short distances and primarily winter along the Alaska Peninsula and in the eastern Aleutian Islands. The population declined nearly 70% between 1964 and 1986 and has since stabilized to about 80,000 birds. The cause of this decline is not clear but may have been due to overharvesting. Currently, the major threats to the Emperor Goose are high natural mortality of adults and young, and continued illegal harvesting. Emperor Geese also appear to be highly sensitive to chronic oil pollution and human disturbance around nesting sites. Long-term climate changes are likely to alter goose habitats and negatively affect the species.


Pacific Flyway Council. 2008. Pacific Flyway Management Plan for the Emperor Goose. Pacific Flyway Study Committee, Portland, OR.

Petersen, M. R., J. A. Schmutz, and R. F. Rockwell. 1994. Emperor Goose (Chen canagica). The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.) 97.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2010. Waterfowl population status, 2010. U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. USA.



Emperor Goose

Emperor Goose

Emperor Goose - Photo by Tim Moser

Species Strategy  in development

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Last updated: December 1, 2011