How do french-speaking Quebecers say “Canada Goose”? :George Turner

During a November walk, I mentioned to the group that my Quebec friends refer to Canada Geese as “Les Bernaches”. George Turner was intrigued by this and sent me some research. Here is his letter:


Hi Miles

Your mention today of the Quebec/French name of Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) prompted me to investigate further.

P. A. Taverner in his book, Birds of Canada (1943), gives the French name as, L’Outarde Canadienne.

Canada Geese

W. Earl Godfrey in his book, The Birds of Canada revised edition (1986) uses Bernache du Canada.

F. A. Kortright in, The Ducks, Geese and Swans of North America (1967), writes in Colloquial Names In Local Use: bernache goose (French name of the barnacle goose).

Canada Goose

Kortright writes in his entry for the Scientific Name of Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis) that “The vernacular name “Barnacle” refers  to the ancient Norse belief that these geese were hatched from barnacles.

Canada Goose with chicks

He also lists Colloquial Names for the Barnacle Goose in France as: bernache or oie bernache (barnacle goose) and oie nonnette (nun goose).

Canada Geese

Godfrey lists the French name of Barnacle Goose as Bernache nonnette.

Too much information?


2 thoughts on “How do french-speaking Quebecers say “Canada Goose”? :George Turner

  1. Kurt Littlewood

    Perfect! This provided Just enough Information for me to understand my French Québécois girl friend. Thanks!


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