Birda Logo
loading...
A photo of a Greylag Goose (Anser anser)
Greylag Goose

Greylag Goose

Anser anser

The Greylag Goose (Anser anser) is a large and robust member of the waterfowl family Anatidae, easily recognized by its mottled and barred grey and white plumage. It boasts an orange beak, pink legs, and a sizeable stature, measuring between 74 and 91 centimeters in length and weighing an average of 3.3 kilograms. This species is the progenitor of most domestic goose breeds and exhibits a wide distribution across Europe and Asia.

Identification Tips

Adult Greylag Geese have a rotund body, a thick and long neck, and a large head and bill. Their legs and feet are pink, and their bill is orange or pink with a white or brown nail. The wingspan ranges from 147 to 180 centimeters. Males are typically larger than females, and the eastern subspecies rubirostris is larger than the nominate subspecies. The plumage is greyish brown with a darker head and paler underparts, with black spotting that varies among individuals. Juveniles can be identified by their lack of black speckling and greyish legs.

Habitat

Greylag Geese breed in a variety of wetland habitats, including moorlands, marshes, lakes, and coastal islands. They prefer areas with dense vegetation for cover. In winter, they occupy semi-aquatic habitats such as estuaries, marshes, flooded fields, and agricultural lands.

Distribution

The Greylag Goose has a Palearctic distribution, with the western subspecies breeding from Iceland to central Europe and the eastern subspecies from Romania to northeastern China. Northern populations often migrate southwards to spend the winter in warmer regions, while many populations are resident year-round.

Behaviour

Greylag Geese are known for their lifelong monogamous pair bonds. They are gregarious and form flocks, which provides safety in numbers. Family groups stay together, migrating southwards in autumn and separating the following year. They are herbivorous, feeding mainly on grasses, and can cause damage to agricultural crops.

Song & Calls

The call of the Greylag Goose is a loud cackling, similar to that of domestic geese. They use various calls for different situations and can recognize individual geese by voice. Flocks produce a sound reminiscent of baying hounds.

Breeding

Greylag Geese mate for life and nest on the ground among vegetation. They lay a clutch of three to five eggs, which the female incubates. Both parents defend and rear the young, who are precocial and leave the nest shortly after hatching.

Similar Species

The Greylag Goose can be confused with other grey geese of the genus Anser, but its larger size, bulkier body, and specific plumage pattern help distinguish it.

Diet and Feeding

The diet consists mainly of grasses, but also includes grains, tubers, and occasionally small aquatic animals. They have adapted to feed on agricultural crops, which has led to conflicts with farmers.

Conservation status

The Greylag Goose is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating a stable and widespread population. However, some local populations may face threats from habitat loss and conflicts with agriculture.

Greylag Goose Sounds



Recorded by: © 
App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Greylag Goose Fun Facts

Did you know?
The Greylag Goose's scientific name translates to Goose Goose.
Did you know?
Greylag Geese are the common ancestor of most domesticated Goose species.

Greylag Geese on Birda

Sightings

More Ducks, Geese, Swans

A photo of a Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) , male

Mandarin Duck

Aix galericulata
Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
778
Great bird recording
For a while I’ve been trying to find an app to easily record bird lists and day out and struggled to find one that I like. Birda is great for this, straightforward and a great community!
Marlster24
Very Wholesome App
Joined this app with a new interest in watching birds to help me find out what I was spotting. The community is very active in helping identify birds which is great and everyone is very kind so it’s just a nice wholesome community. I would definitely recommend this for any bird spotter 😄
Unbridled Discoveries
Great app for bird lovers
I love this app! It’s a wonderful way to track birding sessions, and also connect you with fellow birders. I also really like the unidentified bird section, it’s a great community tool to help figure out what a never-before-seen bird is!
Trevarthen1
Birda fan
I really enjoy using Birda, all sightings are recorded and photos can be added. There are monthly challenges which help to get you out to record your sightings. The Birda community are great and are happy to help with unidentified bird sightings. Suitable for all ages and experience!
Amylia S
Best app for any birding person!
I love this app!! I am so addicted to it when I saw it had 3 star review I was so sad! The app is awesome!! The best app for any birding person! ❤️
JCBirding
Just what birding needs
We need more fun in birding, for years it has had a reputation for being up tight and stuffy and only perused by retirees and anoraks. Birda helps change that perception and firmly brings birding into the 21st century! Fun, interactive while still contributing to science and conservation. If you aren’t on it, why not??
Leonie
We've been waiting for an App like this
Excellent! We've been waiting for an app like this! Thank you! It would be nice if you could assign additional birds to sessions later!
Paul F
Very good database
Highly recommend. It great that this app shows you male Vs female variations when posting. Very good database I'm really impressed.
Birdafan
Ideal Birdwatch Companion
Simply adds to the enjoyment of my birdwatching and helps me record what I’ve seen.
Alex J
Friendly and helps to identify birds
Great birding app, good for logging your sightings, also has nice species guide. I'm enjoying the social aspect more than I expected, everyone seems friendly and helps to identify unknown birds. Good mix of newbies and experienced users.
As featured in
Connect with nature,
Find your flock
Download Birda - QR Code
© 2024 All rights reserved