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GREYLAG GOOSE

GREYLAG GOOSE


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Length             80cm

Wingspan       140-160cm

Weight             3-4 kg

Population      150,000

The greylag goose is a large, pale grey goose with pink legs and an orange bill. It is our most common and widespread native goose , wildin the north of Scotland and reintroduced to the rest of the UK. The greylag can be territorial whilst nesting and will chase other geese and birds away from it’s nest site.

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3135A0D0-4BE4-475A-8979-6B56E5D51914Greylag geese are monogamous and usually pair for life . The greylag normally doesn’t start breeding until 3 years of age, with consequent large numbers of non-breeding sub-adult birds. The greylag goose usually starts to nest in April, on the ground, preferably on an island if at all possible. The nest is lined with feathers and down. The greylag goose normally lay 5-7 eggs, incubated by the female for four weeks. From the moment they hatch, their downy young can walk, swim and feed themselves but it is seven to nine weeks before they can fly. The average lifespan of a greylag in the wild is about eight years.

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The geese and their goslings feed mostly by grazing short-cropped grass but head for the water whenever danger threatens. They feed on any plant material, including roots, tubers, shoots and leaves, both in water and on land.

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Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Greylag geese are listed in Schedule 2 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, meaning they can be killed or taken outside of the close season.

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8 replies »

  1. Beautiful photos! I love geese, ever since I heard the story of Nils Holgersson when I was a child. They are very common in Denmark. We could also observe that they obviously have a Kindergarten arrangement, where a few adult birds watch a whole “gang” of goslings. I found that very interesting.

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