Greylag Goose Anser anser

Although wild Greylag Geese do occur in Norfolk occasionally, most of the following photos are assumed to relate to feral individuals. Having said that, some birds wintering in the county recently would probably also have been assumed to be feral were it not for the fact that they were supporting neck collars identifying them as birds bred in Orkney. Other neck-collared birds have proved to originate from Holland, these presumably involving feral birds.

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Greylag Geese, Strumpshaw Fen (Norfolk, UK), 4th April 2009

 

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pair of Greylag Geese, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 29th March 2009

 

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pair of Greylag Geese with goslings, Wroxham Broad (Norfolk, UK), 18th April 2010

 

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adult and juvenile Greylag Geese, Flitcham (Norfolk, UK), 3rd September 2010

 

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Greylag Geese, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 1st April 2012

 

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Greylag Geese, Creaking Gate Lake (Norfolk, UK), 6th April 2013

 

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Greylag Geese, Snettisham (Norfolk, UK), 8th December 2012

 

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Greylag Goose, Cley (Norfolk, UK), 7th November 2003

 

Greylag Goose, Salthouse (Norfolk, UK), 24th November 2013

 

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Greylag Goose, Coxford (Norfolk, UK), 18th March 2005

 

Greylag Goose, Hickling NWT (Norfolk, UK), 24th April 2004

 

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pair of Greylag Geese, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 11th March 2007

 

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Greylag Geese, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 16th August 2008 - two orange-legged individuals

 

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Greylag Goose (with Pink-footed Geese), between Amner and Shernborne (Norfolk, UK), 17th January 2011 - Greylags among the Pink-footed Goose flocks are often assumed to be of Icelandic origin; this individual was remarkably small, being only slightly larger than the accompanying Pink-feet

 

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Greylag Geese (with Pink-footed Goose in middle), Ardersier (Highland, UK), 16th March 2014 - more presumed Icelandic birds

 

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Greylag Goose, Sparham Pools (Norfolk, UK), 7th April 2007

 

Greylag Geese, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 16th August 2008 - note variation in leg colour

 

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Greylag Goose gosling, Wroxham Broad (Norfolk, UK), 11th May 2009

 

Greylag Geese, Martham Broad (Norfolk, UK), 25th April 2009 - the front was one of two with longer and deeper pinkish coloured bills than the other Greylags

 

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Greylag Geese, Whitlingham CP (Norfolk, UK), 1st July 2011 - the dark on the nail of one of these might possibly indicate some Swan Goose ancestry - a minority of Greylags, at least in feral populations, have dark on the nail and/or the cutting edge but it isn't entirely clear whether this is indicative of Swan Goose genes or natural variation in pure Greylag goose

 

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Greylag Goose, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 1st April 2012 - another one with dark on the nail that may well have domestic ancestry

 

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Greylag Goose, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 31st March 2007

 

Greylag Goose, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 25th March 2007

 

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Greylag Geese, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 6th May 2007

 

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Greylag Geese, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 2nd February 2008

 

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Greylag Goose, Martham Broad (Norfolk, UK), 25th April 2009 - this bird shows a dark tip to the bill and dark along the cutting edge of the mandibles, which, as mentioned above, is not typical of pure Greylag Goose. These may be indicators of another species in its ancestry, probably domestic Swan Goose, however these birds do not appear to be first-generation hybrids and I am not certain if these features could ever appear on a 100% pure Greylag Goose.

 

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Greylag Geese, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 7th March 2009 - note the unusual extent of dark spotting on the vent

 

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Greylag Goose, Coxford (Norfolk, UK), 29th February 2012 - another bird with dark markings on the vent - this bird accompanied a much smaller individual so was either a large male, or perhaps a bird with domestic ancestry

 

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Greylag Geese, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 26th April 2008

 

Greylag Geese, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 18th May 2008

 

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Greylag Geese, Sparham Pools (Norfolk, UK), 27th April 2008

 

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Greylag Geese, Sculthorpe Moor (Norfolk, UK), 2nd April 2016

 

Greylag Goose gosling, Minsmere (Suffolk, UK), 2nd May 2015

 

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Greylag Goose, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 17th February 2008

 

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Greylag Geese, Foxley Wood (Norfolk, UK), 6th April 2012

 

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Greylag Goose gosling, Coxford (Norfolk, UK), 8th June 2004

 

Greylag Geese, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 23rd September 2007

 

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Greylag Goose, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 7th March 2009

 

Greylag Goose, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 29th March 2009

 

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Greylag Goose, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 14th October 2007

 

Greylag Goose (with Canada Geese), Titchwell (Norfolk, UK), 7th June 2004

 

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Greylag Geese, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 27th October 2007

 

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Greylag Goose, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 13th September 2008

 

Greylag Geese, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 30th December 2007

 

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Greylag Goose, Burnham Overy (Norfolk, UK), 4th February 2012

 

Greylag Geese, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 16th April 2011 - more birds with dark nails and cutting edges, so presumably with domestic Swan Goose in their ancestry

 

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Greylag Geese, Horsey (Norfolk, UK), 9th May 2009

 

Greylag Goose, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 27th October 2007

 

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Greylag Goose (with Pink-footed Geese), between Shernborne and Amner (Norfolk, UK), 17th January 2011 - birds appearling like this among Pink-footed Geese are often suspected as being of Icelandic origin rather than feral birds. This individual was extremely small for a Greylag.

 

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Greylag Goose, Hayle (Cornwall, UK), 21st October 2010 - I'm yet to hear back formally but I understand this bird with blue neck collar O-EB was ringed in southern Sweden in 2000, arrived in NE England in February 2010, passed Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on 9th October before arriving at Hayle the following day

 

Greylag Goose, near Shernborne (Norfolk, UK), 19th December 2011 - cf. the bird from last winter above - here is another (or I suppose perhaps the same) very small individual among wild Pink-footed Geese

 

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Greylag Geese, Coxford (Norfolk, UK), 15th March 2004

 

Leucistic Greylag Geese

Individuals showing white, partially white or paler than usual plumage are often found among feral goose flocks and these birds are generally assumed to be of domestic stock, or descended from domestic birds. Domestic birds certainly do find there way into feral flocks and will happily breed with feral birds, so this is probably a fair assessment in the majority of cases.

However it is quite feasible that wild or feral Greylag Geese with no domestic ancestry may show these features too - wild Pink-footed Geese are prone to leucism and many show white bands across the underparts with white primaries. Presumably whatever causes wild Pink-feet to show these features could just as easily affect wild or feral Greylags. Domestic birds often give themselves away by having an abnormally large rear end, thicker than usual head/neck or an unusually bright and stout bill, but some domestic birds show none of these structural clues.

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leucistic Greylag Goose, Holkham (Norfolk, UK), 12th January 2013 - one of two very similar birds showing a pattern of leucism that often appears on leucistic Pink-footed Geese, and showing no evidence of domestic heritage

The birds shown below are likely to involve domestic birds, for which I have a separate page, but they are also included on this page as they may simply be leucistic birds with no domestic ancestry.

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Greylag Goose showing white belly patch and white primaries, Coxford (Norfolk, UK), 2nd April 2004

 

Greylag Goose showing white belly patch and white primaries, Bittering GP (Norfolk, UK), 17th January 2004

 

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leucistic Greylag Goose, Coxford (Norfolk, UK), 2nd April 2004

 

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leucistic Greylag Goose, Holkham Park (Norfolk, UK), 22nd November 2004

 

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leucistic Greylag Goose, Holkham Park (Norfolk, UK), 17th February 2004 (possibly the same bird as shown above)