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 Greylag Goose  (Anser anser )


Measures: The largest and heaviest of Anser geese, with the size of a little swan. The wing length is 42 - 48 cm and weight about 3 - 4.5 kg

Distribution: The most widespread goose in Europe breeds on the lakes in the natural zones of the mixed and broad-leaved forests, steppes and deserts. In Estonia it breeds on the bays of the western coast and in the Western Archipelago.

Abundance: The Greylag Goose is comparatively abundant. At present, 1,500 pairs are breeding in Estonia.

Habitat: It inhabits coastal bays and relict lakes rich in emergent vegetation (especially reeds), and islets in the sea.

Migration: Migratory bird. The geese appear on an average in mid-March. The majority of local birds departs at the end of September.

Feeding: Herbivorous bird with no exception. Feeds on the aquatic plants and shoots of grasses. It feeds while walking rather than swimming.

Breeding: The nest is situated mainly in an open area in or near the reed bed. The reed shoots and other water plants are used for building the nest on an higher area or clod. After mid-April it lays 4 - 8 white eggs. Only females sit on the eggs. They are very sensitive to disturbance.

Development: The young geese are capable to follow the female soon after hatching and drying. They leave the nest and start moving around the nesting area. They move to open sea for June and spend their moulting time on small islands or islets.

Endangerment and protection: The adult Greylag Goose has relatively few natural enemies. Only the young birds will be attacked by predators if they happen to be left without parents' care. Greylag goose is a valuable bird for hunting. It is endangered by the pollution of waters and disturbance in breeding areas.

 Source: Internet
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