008 Greylag Goose
(Anser anser)


75-89 cm. The biggest Europen grey goose. Its paler than the other grey geese. It has brown-grey back with cream bars and broad white stern. Its bill is large and orange coloured. The legs are pink. Variations: Western birds (ssp anser, most of Europe) comparatively darker, smaller with more orange tinge to bill, Eastern birds (ssp rubrirostris, Russia, Asia) paler, larger and have pinkish bill.


In Hungary ssp rubrirostris is fairly common breeder on large marshes. First flocks arrive late January or February. During Summer Hungarian breeders gather in large flocks, and migrants from Northern populations also arrive in September. locks of several thousands individuals stay up until December and depending on the weather they regularly overwinter in various numbers. Subspecies anser is a sporadic migrant in Hungary appearing mostly on extensive wetlands of Transdanubia.

008 Greylag Goose pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008