Our Beautiful World

Greylag, Anser anser  

© http://www.ecosystema.ru/

Photo © Jørgen Scheel
The Greylag Goose is distributed throughout most of Europe and across southern Siberia and central Asia as far as the Pacific.
In most of its range it is migratory breeding in the north and wintering further south but British native populations are largely sedentary. There are also some feral flocks which spend all year in Britain. Winter populations increase largely due to the
influx of birds from Iceland that overwinter in Britain.

Photo © Jørgen Scheel

During the summer the Graylag Geese, Anser anser, live in Scotland, Iceland; Scandinavia and Eastward to Russia,
as well as Poland and Germany. The Iceland birds migrate in autumn to the British Isles, and usually arrive in October.
The Netherlands, Spain, France, eastern Mediterranean, and North Africa are places in which the rest of the European
population spends winter.

During the breeding season Greylag geese live in lowland marshes and fens that have a lot of vegetation, as well as offshore
islands. Outside of the breeding season they spend time in fresh-and salt-water marshes, estuaries, stubble fields, pasture
lands, and potato fields.

A grown up has a lenth of 75 to 90 cm, with a wingspan from 145 to 165 cm
The mass of the birds tends to be in the range of 2500 to 4100 g.
Lifespan may reach as much as 21 years.

Photo © Jørgen Scheel
Greylag goose plumage is grayish-brown, with pale margins on feathers in the upper part. In the lower part it has a white
belly, and grayish shading on the lower breast. Similar to all of this is the neck and the head. It has an orange, large bill.
The feet and legs are flesh tissue colored, and in most adults there is spotting and blotching in most adults.
Young birds do not have this characteristic, and have grayish legs..

The number of eggs varies from three to twelve, but is usually only four to six. The eggs are creamy white, and about
85 x 58mm in size. The eggs are incubated only by the female, and take 27 to 28 days to hatch. After hatching,
the goslings usually wait until drying out to leave the nest. With the supervision of their parents the young birds feed themselves,
and in about eight weeks they are fully independent.

Sociable by nature, the Greylag geese occur in different size groups, from small families to flocks that go up to the thousands.
They usually fly in v-patterns when traveling long distances. They are able to run rapidly in land, and move without difficulty
to avoid predators.

Food include grasses, rhizomes of marsh plants, and roots, and some small aquatic animals. They also eat spilled grain in
stubbles, and different kinds of root crops, as well as turnips, carrots, and potatoes.
Text above partly from http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu

Photo © Jørgen Scheel


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