Brant – More specifically, the “Atlantic” Brant is found almost exclusively in coastal areas where small flocks feed on aquatic grasses. It would be unlikely to encounter a Brant away from saltwater. These chunky, dark geese are smaller than Canadas and have a black head and neck, except for the thin white collar on adults. They are unlikely to associate with other geese, although in some instances they can be found with Canada or Snow Geese. More info here.
Cackling Goose – This tiny goose species, especially the “Richardson’s” subspecies, can be found among Canada and Snow Goose flocks across the region. This species’ population seems to be increasing, and more Cackling Geese are found in the Northeast each winter. Any large Canada Goose flock could be expected to have at least one Cackling Goose mixed in, and it isn’t unusual to find a small group of 2 to 4 together. These are essentially miniature versions of Canada Geese, with small bills, a silvery-gray wash to their mantle, and a slightly darker-tan breast than a Canada Goose. Sometimes Cacklers show a very thin white band at the base of their black necks. Extreme care should be taken when IDing a Cackling Goose, to make sure it isn’t a smaller Canada Goose subspecies or runt, or a even a hybrid between the two. David Sibley has a great article on spotting Cackling Geese among Canadas, and another article about bill shape in Cackling Geese. More info here.
Ross’s Goose – Another tiny goose species, but this is a miniature version of a Snow Goose, and can be found among Snow and Canada Geese. It can be pretty well expected that any large Snow Goose flock will have at least one Ross’s mixed in. Extreme care should be taken when IDing Ross’s Geese, as there are many probable hybrids mixed in to Snow Goose flocks as well. A ‘textbook’ Ross’s Goose is very small, cute, and round-bodied; with a stubby pinkish-purple bill that is shaped like a 90 degree triangle attached to a very round head. In flight a Ross’s can look almost half the size of a Snow Goose. Their small size also means that they can be sneaky, and hide behind other large geese very well – it’s always worth scanning through flocks and portions of flocks multiple times to be sure that you saw all the birds present. Often the best opportunity to spot a Ross’s Goose among Snow Geese is to wait for the geese to be alert and standing upright, then scan through quickly and look for the tiny one with the cute little head! Examples of hybrid Snow X Ross’s Geese can be seen further down this page. More Ross’s Geese info here.
Greater White-fronted Goose – This is the rarest of the regularly occurring geese in the Northeast, and two subspecies can be expected – one from Western North America, and the other from Greenland. This medium-sized, grayish-brown goose has bold orange legs and a pink or orange bill, in addition to often showing splotchy black markings across their breasts. The best way to pick one out among other geese is to look for their orange legs. White-fronts can mostly be found among large Canada Goose flocks, but have also shown up among Snow Geese. Singles and small groups could be expected. Careful study is needed to determine subspecies, and photos should be taken – typically mostly Greenland GWFG occur in the Northeast, but some winters see incursions of Western GWFG into the mid-Atlantic. Beware that many domestic goose varieties can vaguely resemble Greater White-fronted Geese. More info from David Sibley on Greater White-fronted Geese can be found here. More species info here.