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Greylag goose

What am I?

I am the largest native goose found in the UK.

Where do I come from?

I am a year-round resident of the UK, with migrant birds from Iceland increasing my numbers in the winter.

A bit about me

Apart from my size, my pink legs, orange bill and paler plumage distinguish me from other grey geese. I was once the only breeding goose in Britain, and most domestic geese species are descended from me. After almost dying out in the 19th century due to over-hunting and new land management practices, I was reintroduced to various areas of the UK and my population recovered.

While we are indistinguishable in appearance, we greylags can be separated into two populations: the resident geese, who are fairly tame and found mostly in the south, and the migratory Iceland greylags, wilder and found mostly in the north.

I breed in various types of wetlands; my goslings can fly after two months, but will remain with the family until the following spring.

Local spotlight

We are not present in huge numebrs around the Solent coast. Some key places to see us are: Testwood Lakes and Dark Water Estuary at Lepe. I am much more regualrly sighted on inland ponds.

Conservation status

I’m amber listed in the UK

My name might not be listed in the Solent’s Special Protection Areas but I am still definitely important for the coastal ecosystem and form part of the non-breeding waterbird assemblages which these regions are protected for.

Fun fact

I am monogamous, and will re-enact my courtship ritual with my mate each time we have become seperated!