Goose’s Body Language Explained

Geese rely on body language for communicating with humans and fellow geese. They can also use various verbal cues for expression. Understanding a goose’s body language is vital while keeping geese in your backyard. For instance, geese flap their wings to showcase their dominance. Wing flapping can also imply aggression.

gooses body language

When a goose lowers its head, the bird is furious and can attack without warning. The more geese farmers learn about a goose’s body language; the easier it is for them to raise geese in their homesteads.

Types of Geese Body Languages

Geese are fascinating aquatic fowl. These birds can be mesmerizing and hard to understand, especially for beginner geese raisers. Geese have many types of body language, so you might wonder what these long-necked waterfowl mean by different body language. You must understand these common types of geese’ body language while raising geese.

Lowered Head and Hissing

It’s common for geese to walk with lowered heads. However, these long-necked aquatic creatures could tell you they mean business when they walk towards you, lowering their heads and hissing. A goose could be telling you to keep your distance if it walks towards you or other family members while lowering its head and hissing.

Geese usually make this gesture when humans or geese move too close to their nests, offspring, and territories. Male geese usually make this gesture to ward off threats. Females can also use the gesture when you move close to their nests or goslings.

Bobbing Head

You’ve probably seen a goose honking or hissing while bobbing its head. Although this is a common geese behavior, head bobbing in geese can be an indication of aggression. A goose is letting you know it’s about to attack you by bobbing its head.

Head bobbing can signify severe aggression, especially when a goose keeps bobbing its head while opening its wings wide. It will help to back away calmly if a goose approaches you while bobbing its head because the bird will certainly attack you.

Neck Pumping

Neck pumping in geese might seem like another sign of aggression, mainly when a goose keeps pumping its neck while hissing or honking. However, neck pumping is courtship in geese, particularly when these birds bathe in the river, pond, dam, or water reservoir.

Male geese usually indulge in long hours of neck pumping to let the females know they are in love. It’s a way of a gander attempting to win a female during the mating season so that the two can form a mating pair.

Females, too, can pump their necks to react positively to males’ advances, suggesting that they also love the males. However, neck pumping is always prevalent during the mating season, but the behavior ends immediately after courtship.

Keeping Head High

It’s common for geese to keep their heads high, especially when looking for potential predators in their territories. However, keeping head high is a gesture that geese raisers can’t ignore. When a goose keeps its head high while remaining silent, the bird is letting other birds know that “I’m the boss here .”The bird also wants the other members to contend that they can’t challenge its authority.

It is a sign of dominance among dominant ganders in a geese flock. Juveniles and low-ranking geese in a flock can’t use this body language to express authority because the body language is a preserve of the dominant males and females. Geese, too, have a clear pecking order like other birds. The dominant members will go to any length to express their dominance, including keeping their heads high.

However, it doesn’t always mean that a goose expresses dominance by keeping its head high. The bird could be on the lookout for predators. When a goose keeps its head high while honking, it could have detected a potential threat. Therefore, it’s warning flock members to take cover. Geese can also keep their heads high while looking for new pastures away from their sight.

Lowered, Tucked Head

The body language is a sign of submission by junior-ranking flock members to dominant birds. When junior flock members lower and tuck their heads, they intend to show their senior counterparts that they accept the latter’s dominance. Simply put, they say, “I know you’re the boss” .

They want the dominant birds to know they have no intention of challenging their dominance. Geese can also use this body language after a fight, possibly over a mate or territory. The losing bird will lower and tuck its head in acceptance. It’s a sign of retreat and submission.

No wonder lower-ranking flock members keep their heads low and tucked when they are around their seniors. The seniors, in return, keep their heads high to indicate undisputed dominance over the lower-ranking members.

Shaking Head and Calling

This body language is prevalent among leading geese in each flock that play the guarding role. When a leader shakes their head while making grunt calls, they are letting the flock members know it is time to get out of there. Geese usually use this body language to warn other birds of predators.

The leader wants the members to be aware of the imminent danger and the urgent need to take cover. Flock members respond to this gesture by running or flying away to take cover from the threat. If a goose shakes its head while making loud calls, it means that the threat is fast approaching, and members should take action immediately by fleeing.

Keeping Bills Up

Keeping bills up is a sign of love among geese. This body language is common among mating pairs. Geese form lifetime pairs after courtship because they are monogamous fowl. When a male and a female goose keep their bills up while swimming or foraging, they want to show other geese that they are in love.

It can also indicate an unbreakable bond between pairs, so other birds shouldn’t attempt to separate the pairs.


Geese are perhaps the most fascinating fowls. They can use more body language than other birds to express themselves. From head shaking to neck pumping, geese can use several gestures to express different things. Geese owners must comprehend the different geese’ body language types to help them understand their birds better.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *