You can unsubscribe at any time. This problem is also evident for the pink-footed goose. Both the head and neck are a dark brown. However, during the 20th century, feral populations have been established elsewhere, and they have now re-colonised much of England. [5], The greylag is the largest and bulkiest of the grey geese of the genus Anser, but is more lightly built and agile than its domestic relative. Throughout the year, there are three periods in which the numbers of geese in the reserve are at their highest: during May geese travel from Germany and Sweden to the Oostvaardersplassen to moult; and during spring and autumn, geese travel from Denmark and Sweden … In their winter quarters, they frequent salt marshes, estuaries, freshwater marshes, steppes, flooded fields, bogs and pasture near lakes, rivers and streams. Wintering grounds closer to home can therefore be exploited, meaning that the geese can return to set up breeding territories earlier the following spring. For that festival, in Thomas Bewick's time, geese were driven in thousand-strong flocks on foot from farms all over the East of England to London's Cheapside market, covering some 8 or 9 miles (13 or 14 km) per day. Reports from 2009/10 - Icelandic Greylag Goose & British/Irish Greylag Goose Reports from 2011/12 - As above with the addition of 'unspecified' Greylag Goose. A greylag goose is a large goose native to Europe and Western Asia. This has the advantage for the birds that the vigilance of some individuals in the group allows the rest to feed without having to constantly be alert to the approach of predators. In the Orkney islands the population has increased dramatically: there were 300 breeding pairs, increasing to 10,000 in 2009, and 64,000 in 2019. [14], Since the 1950s, increases in winter temperatures have resulted in greylag geese, breeding in central Europe, reducing their winter migration distances. They like dense ground cover of reeds, rushes, heather, bushes and willow thickets. Siberian birds have pink bills, Greenland birds’ bills are orange. The greylag goose (Anser anser) is a species of large goose in the waterfowl family Anatidae and the type species of the genus Anser. Filmed in Castricum, the Netherlands. For the Thoroughbred race horse, see, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22679889A85975013.en, "Chapter 1: Origins and Breeds of Domestic Geese", "The merging of populations of Greylag Geese breeding in Britain", "Fighting a goose invasion with guns, knives and forks", Ageing and sexing (PDF) by Javier Blasco-Zumeta & Gerd-Michael Heinze, Greylag Goose Educational video from Avi Birds, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Greylag_goose&oldid=993020240, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Green: breeding, orange: non-breeding, red: introduced, This page was last edited on 8 December 2020, at 10:53. [4] As the domestic goose is a subspecies of the greylag goose they are able to interbreed, with the offspring sharing characteristics of both the wild and tame birds. Two similar species, the taiga and the tundra bean goose winter in Scotland and eastern England in small numbers (fewer than 500 individuals of each species). The Greylag Goose is Britain’s only native breeding goose. There are various subtle variations used under different circumstances, and individual geese seem to be able to identify other known geese by their voices. Some with thin white rim at the base of the bill, and many with dark marks on the belly. A typical clutch is four to six eggs, but fewer eggs or larger numbers are not unusual. This type of goose is thought to be the primary ancestor of most domestic geese breeds. The birds stay together as a family group, migrating southwards in autumn as part of a flock, and separating the following year. [21], Homosexual pairs are common (14 to 20% of the pairs may be ganders, depending on flock), and share the characteristics of heterosexual pairs with the exceptions that the bonds appear to be closer, based on the intensity of their displays. Adults of the Greylag Goose present a series of brown and grey patches across the top of the body, with more faint colouration below. Winter population is 90,000. This exotic-looking species has a brown eye patch and a blend of pale, brown and grey plumage. Some 15,000 white-fronts visit our coasts from Scotland to southern England having summered in Greenland and Siberia. [17], Greylag geese are largely herbivorous and feed chiefly on grasses. Voice. Large bulky grey goose, with pinkish-orange bill and dull pink legs. The eggs are creamy-white at first but soon become stained, and average 85 by 58 millimetres (3.3 by 2.3 in). A small, dark goose - the same size as a mallard. Greylag geese travel to their northerly breeding grounds in spring, nesting on moorlands, in marshes, around lakes and on coastal islands. Greylag geese are largely herbivorous and feed chiefly on grasses. An escapee from ornamental collections, there are now 1,100 breeding pairs across the UK. [21], The nest is on the ground among heather, rushes, dwarf shrubs or reeds, or on a raft of floating vegetation. [3] The greylag goose was one of the first animals to be domesticated; this happened at least 3000 years ago in Ancient Egypt, the domestic breed being known as A. a. spatial differences in migration strategies), and management (e.g. [19] The tubers of sea clubrush (Bolboschoenus maritimus) are also taken as well as berries and water plants such as duckweed (Lemna) and floating sweetgrass (Glyceria fluitans). [6][10] Adults have a distinctive 'concertina' pattern of folds in the feathers on their necks. It is seen as a pest in some areas. It was linked with the goddess of healing, Gula, a forerunner of the Sumerian fertility goddess Ishtar, in the cities of the Tigris-Euphrates delta over 5,000 years ago. It was first described by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758 as Anas anser, but was transferred two years later to the new genus Anser, erected by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson, where it is the type species. domesticus. The greylag goose (Anser anser) is a species of large goose in the waterfowl family Anatidae and the type species of the genus Anser . Thanks! [23] The tradition of pulling a wishbone derives from the tradition of eating a roast goose at Michaelmas, where the goose bone was once believed to have the powers of an oracle. [25], A crossbreed between a wild greylag goose and a domesticated swan goose (A. cygnoides domesticus), as evidenced by its thick neck and bulky head, both of which display vestigial patterning like certain domestic breeds, "Greylag" redirects here. 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