Goose vs Gander
Unless there is a clear understanding about the male and female characteristics, it would be a great challenge to identify ganders among geese. The term goose encompasses both males and females of geese, but it refers to a female when used with the term gander. This article intends to discuss the characteristics of goose in general, and then an emphasis on the difference between male and female is presented.
Generally, goose is a well-diversified group of birds with 22 species described under three genera known as Anser, Branta, and Chen. They have medium size bodies, which range from 75 to 110 centimetres. They vary from three to nine kilograms in their bodyweights. The neck of geese is longer than ducks but shorter than swans. They are colourful, and especially their chicks come in golden plumages. Usually, geese are herbivorous, but occasionally they become omnivorous according to the availability of food. They are famous for their migratory behaviours, as almost all the species migrate during winter. In addition, they can fly over very long distances to enjoy their foraging tour. Their family units are strong, and the pair bonds between goose and gander are very firm for the lifetime. Those strong families stay together as a unit for the whole migration period, and the yearlings will leave the parents at the breeding season. The pair is cooperative as they both take parts in egg sitting. They are wading birds, and their lifespan is about 24 years in wild.
What is the difference between Goose and Gander?
Both male and female look alike in geese, especially in their colouration, which makes it difficult to distinguish who is who. In addition to the similarities in their plumage colourations, both male and female take part in egg incubation and feeding the goslings; thus, differentiation becomes more difficult. Therefore, a specific observation is necessary to identify who is gander and who is goose. The following are the obvious differences between them and those are important to understand.
• The most obvious difference between goose and gander is the reproductive systems. A genital examination would reveal the sex of the bird, as there is a small penis-like structure in ganders, but not in goose. However, this method requires the observer to catch a couple of geese.
• Internal structures could be observed through a dissection if there is a dead bird. If it is a female goose, the ovaries could be seen in a cluster. In case of a gander, the reproductive organs, especially testicles, could be seen in the abdominal cavity.
• Generally, gander is larger and taller than goose. In fact, the male is tall about 8 – 15 centimetres more compared to female. Therefore, ganders could be identified when they are in a flock with goose via a comparative observation between male and females. This method is far too easy for anyone to determine a gander from a goose, but there should be a flock.
• Behavioural observation would be a very useful tool to identify males from females, as there are considerable habitual differences between them. Ganders, with more testosterone secretions, are more aggressive than geese. When a human gets close to a gander, it starts to hiss and puffs up its feathers to show dominance, whereas a female continues to rest.
• Males being aggressive, they tend to be fighting rather than flying away from threats as the females do. However, sometimes females tend to rest their head on the ground but not the males.
• When they are mating, the gander mounts on the goose.