In the winter, these large geese can be found throughout Asia, South America, Mexico, and even on islands like the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.
For the sake of simplicity and to hopefully lessen any confusion on the matter, here we’ll simply cover the primary species (found in North America, the UK, and the rest of Europe) and not go terribly in-depth with phylogeny or subspecies. the Cotton Patch Goose), or as guard animals and (in former times) for goose fights (e.g., the Steinbach Fighting Goose and Tula Fighting Goose).
Goose breeds are usually grouped into three weight classes: Heavy, Medium and Light.
We’ll also consider Anser and Chen to be separate genera, rather than Chen being contained within Anser. Brilliantly white body plumage with black wingtips, a short neck, and a stubby, very triangular and straight orange-pink bill with a light green-grey patch at the base (called a “grinning patch”) round out this bird’s appearance. They’re between 2.5 and 3 feet in length with a wingspan of nearly 5 feet. They are often found in lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and marshes, particularly during the summer breeding season. They breed in the summer in Canada, northern Alaska, and occasionally Greenland and Siberia. Their appearance is much the same as that of a Ross’s goose, but there are some key differences: snow geese are about 40% larger, on average, than Ross’s geese. For now, feel free to continue reading. A ruddy grey-brown colored bird with a white or lighter underside, this goose is sometimes also called the “specklebelly” goose due to its underside sometimes being a mottled or barred white and black/brown color. In the summer, they can be found in the Arctic tundra, usually within just a few miles of a lake or river. Quite a small and stocky goose, the Ross’s goose weighs less than 4 pounds, is about 2 feet long, and has a wingspan averaging 3.5 feet. These small geese are an endangered species, primarily due to habitat loss and poaching. In winter, they can be found on coastlines and salt marshes along the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Most domestic geese are descended from the greylag goose (Anser anser). Here they feed readily on grasses, leaves, berries, tender stems and roots, and sometimes agricultural grains in the winter when other food is scarcer. As with any organism, these services can become a detriment when populations exceed natural numbers – many goose species have boomed beyond carrying capacity in response to human activities like widespread agriculture and an unhealthy reduction in the numbers of animals that prey on goose eggs and goslings, like foxes, eagles, and snakes.
In their winter territories, they most often eat grasses like winter wheat, rye, and barley, but they may occasionally eat some aquatic vegetation as well as insects that they find in the grass and under rocks. They average less than 4 pounds with a wingspan of around 4 feet and body length of about 2 feet. Commercially, Geese are usually bred for their meat, foie gras and occasionally for speciality eggs but for the specialist breeders and keepers of pure breed geese, they provide charming and intelligent pets, useful ‘guard dogs’ and efficient ‘lawn mowers’. Canada geese also have long, pointy beaks as opposed to being short and stubby, and longer, thinner necks that settle into an S shape when resting (most cackling geese have necks too short and thick to achieve much curvature). Native primarily to the UK, the greylag goose migrates to the Mediterranean, North Africa, and Eurasia for winter.
Most studies regarding waterfowl hybridization have been geared toward ducks, likely because they’re frankly easier to work with than their larger, more foul-tempered (pun absolutely intended) goose relatives. They breed in northern Asia, and winter in central and southern Europe and, on rare occasions, the UK.
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