Greylag Goose

Greylag Goose

Greylag Goose - Anser anser

Domesticated since ancient times, before any other bird, this is the largest goose which can be seen in the wild in Italy. Incredibly beautiful bird, with grey-brown upper parts and feathers finely edged with white, pale belly, pink bill and legs.

It prefers fresh water wetlands, not too deep and tending to be eutrophic.

Outside the breeding season it is very gregarious and assiduously frequents fields and meadows with cereal stubble. The species is rather sensitive to human disturbance.

In spite of its size, the Greylag Goose can fly long distances at remarkable elevations and high speed. The central and north European populations mostly over-winter in southern Spain and northern Africa.

Small gaggles also regularly over-winter in Italy (Ombrone River Estuary, Comacchio Valley, perilacustral areas in Friuli and Veneto).

Two nesting areas have been known in Italy since the XVIII century, near Ravenna and in the Marshes at Castiglione della Pescaia. Following re-introduction, some semi-wild individuals of the species have recently returned to breed in some north-eastern areas.

Although a protected species, hunting has severely limited the bird stopping over in the north Tuscany wetlands.