Greylag goose

Species profile

Name: theĀ greylag goose is a large and widespread species of goose. They are the ancestors of domestic geese, having been tamed by humans around 1,300 BC.

Appearance: greylag geese have large, bulky bodies with long, thick necks. They have striped brown and white feathers, with an orange beak and pink legs.

Size: they measure up to 90 cm in length, weigh around 3.3 kg, and have a wingspan of up to 1.8 m.

Diet: greylag geese are herbivores, mostly feeding on grass and water plants. They sometimes feed on agricultural crops such as wheat, barley, and even potatoes.

Did you know: greylag geese were once revered across Europe and Asia. They were linked with the goddess of healing, Gula, in the cities of the Tigris-Euphrates delta over 5,000 years ago. In Ancient Egypt, geese symbolised the sun god Ra. While in Ancient Greece and Rome, they were associated with the goddess of love, Aphrodite, and goose fat was used as an aphrodisiac. Since they were sacred birds, they were kept on Rome’s Capitoline Hill, where they raised the alarm when the Gauls attacked in 390 BC.

Location: greylags can be found across Europe and Asia, migrating south to spend the winter in warmer climates. During the breeding season, they can be found on moors, marshes, and peat bogs with areas of dense vegetation cover. In winter they are more often found in lakes, rivers, and estuaries.

Where to see Greylag geese

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see greylag geese in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Forest of Dean
very high
very good
very high

Photo credit: WikiImages under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay

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