Where Do Geese Live? (Habitat and Distribution)

Geese live near water, where they are safe from predators and close to their food supply, which is made up of grass, seeds, aquatic plants, and small insects. Geese can be found on every continent except Antarctica.

In this article, we’ll look at the distribution of geese across the world and learn where they choose to live and why.

Where Do Geese Live

Where Do Geese Live?

Geese live in most parts of the world, especially in North America and Europe. Migrating geese make their nests in the arctic tundras of Northern Canada, Siberia, Iceland, and Greenland during the summer, and fly south to more temperate climates over the winter.

Different species live in different parts of the world, and each species have their own nesting sites and migration patterns.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common species and see where they live…

Canada GooseNative to North America, introduced to parts of Europe
Brent GooseSvalbard, Norway, Western Europe, Northern Canada, Japan
Pink-Footed GooseSvalbard, Iceland, Greenland, Western Europe, North Eastern USA, Eastern Canada
Chinese GooseChina, Mongolia, Russia
Egyptian GooseEgypt, Most of Sub-Saharan Africa
Cackling GooseNative to North America, introduced to parts of Europe
White-Fronted GooseNorth America, Central America, Western Europe, Scandinavia, Siberia, East Asia
Barnacle GooseNorth America, Iceland, Greenland, Western Europe, Scandinavia, Siberia
Greylag GooseMost of Europe, Asia, and North Africa

Read More: Are Geese Protective?

What Continents do Geese Live On?

Geese live on every continent except Antarctica, though they are most commonly found in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Due to colonization and the expansion and movement of human populations, many species of geese have been moved from their native continents and introduced to other parts of the world, where they continue to live today.

One example of this is the Egyptian Goose, which was native to Africa but was introduced to much of Europe as an ornamental species because of its unique color.

Read More: What Colors Can Geese Be?

Another example is the Canada Goose, many of which were brought from their native North America by colonizing Europeans and introduced to Europe where they continue to live and breed today.

In the UK alone there are over 60,000 breeding pairs of Canada Geese that live there year-round.

Do Geese Live on the Coast or Inland?

Geese live near the coast or inland, depending on the species. Most geese like to live near open water as it provides them with food and protection from land-based predators.

Some geese even choose to float on water at night when they sleep to avoid land predators like foxes.

Geese from Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard, and Siberia choose to migrate to coastal regions of Western Europe, where the gulf stream creates milder winters than other places on the same latitude.

When geese migrate inland, they tend to congregate around large bodies of inland water. For example, in North America most geese spend the winters in Northern Canada, where there are over 30,000 small lakes for them to use for food and protection.

To stay warm, some geese stand on one leg while standing in water.

Read More: Where Do Geese Go In Winter?

Ideal Habitat for Geese

The ideal habitat for geese includes open water, plenty of grass and foliage for them to eat, and a safe place for them to nest. Geese can be found near lakes and ponds, streams and rivers, around reservoirs, and in wetlands.

During the summer, geese are more content to live further north, where there is less danger from predators and the geese can nest in peace. In winter when the weather is too cold at their breeding grounds, geese migrate south and spend time in parks, ponds, and fields where they can find plenty of food.

Geese use their sharp tongues and beaks to rip and tear at grass and aquatic plants.

Read More: Do Geese have Teeth?

Geese are prey animals and prefer wide-open space, so that they can see any predators approaching from a distance.


Can Geese Live Indoors?

Geese can live indoors sometimes, but they need outdoor space too to keep them healthy.

In the UK, the RSPCA advises that any geese kept indoors should be provided with multiple entrances/exits to an outdoor area, and at least one square metre (11 square feet) of space for every three birds.

Nesting birds must also be provided with a separate, private area where they can make their nests in peace to avoid them biting or pecking at other birds. Geese are fiercely territorial and can become quite aggressive if other geese get too close to their nests.

Read More: Why Are Geese So Aggressive?

Do Canada Geese Live in Canada?

Canada geese live in Canada, but they also live in other countries around the world. Canada geese are endemic to North America (Canada, USA, and Mexico) but there are also populations in Europe and Asia that were artificially introduced by colonists in the 1700s.

Read Also: Why Do Geese Migrate?

Do Geese Live in the UK?

Several species of geese are native to the UK, including the White-Fronted Goose (Anser albifrons), Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis), Brent Goose (Branta bernicla) and the Greylag Goose (Anser anser).

In addition to these native species, there are some species such as the Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) that were introduced from overseas and are now found across the UK.

SpeciesTotal UK Population (Winter)UK Population (Breeding Pairs)
White-Fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)15,300 BirdsNone
Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis)95,000 Birds900
Brent Goose (Branta bernicla)102,000 BirdsNone
Greylag Goose (Anser anser)228,000 Birds46,000 Pairs
Pink-Footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)360,000 BirdsNone
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)190,000 Birds62,000 Pairs
Egyptian Goose* (Alopochen aegyptiaca)3400 Birds1,100 Pairs

Data Source: RSPB UK (Barnacle Goose, White-Fronted Goose, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Pink-Footed Goose, Canada Goose, Egyptian Goose)

* The Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca) is not a true goose, but a shelduck.

Read More: Are Geese Ducks?

Conclusion – Where Do Geese Live?

Geese live on every continent except Antarctica. A large majority choose to nest in the arctic regions of North America, Northern Europe, and Siberia, with many making the long migration south to more temperate climates during winter.

Geese like to live near water, since it provides part of their diet and offers them protection from predators, and will usually find a pond, lake, or river to live next to.

Some species of geese are also commercially farmed in specific areas, for example the Toulouse Goose is popular in continental Europe, and the Chinese goose is popular in Asia.

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