Anser anser   (Linnaeus,  1758) (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyright: Rajiv Lather

Size: 80 cm

Common winter visitor to north India. This bird is found in large wetlands.

Identification: It is mainly brown with a gray rump and white tail. Flesh pink colored bill is diagnostic.

Habitat: Breeding- During the breeding season the species inhabits wetlands surrounded by fringing vegetation in open grassland, sedge or heather moorland, arctic tundra, steppe or semi-desert from sea-level up to 2,300 m. It nests near streams, saltmarshes, river flood-plains, reedy marshes, grassy bogs, damp meadows, reed-lined freshwater lakes and estuaries close to potential feeding sites such as meadows, grasslands, stubble fields and newly sown cereal fields. It requires isolated islands in lakes or on along the coast out of reach of land predators for nesting. In the autumn (before migration) the species also frequents agricultural land (e.g. sugar-beet, maize and cereal fields). Non-breeding In the winter the species inhabits lowland farmland in open country, swamps, lakes, reservoirs, coastal lagoons and estuaries.

Breeding season- May or April. Nest- The nest is a shallow construction of plant matter placed among reedbeds, on the ground , in or at the base of trees, under bushes or in sheltered hollows on isolated wooded islands on lakes or along coasts, as well as on rafts of vegetation in rivers. Although the species is only semi-colonial, nests may be concentrated within a small area (e.g. placed 11 m apart on small islands).

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Greylag Goose (English)
• Raaj hans (Hindi)
• Kalhans (Sanskrit)
• Shyam kadamb (Marathi)
• Gaj hamsa (Gujrati)
• Bhoora magh (Punjabi)
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(This species is threatened by considerable hunting pressures across much of its range and is susceptible to poisoning from lead shot ingestion. It is also persecuted by farmers as it can cause considerable crop damage. The destruction and degradation of wetland habitats due to drainage, conversion to agriculture, petroleum pollution, peat-extraction, changing wetland management practices (e.g. decreased grazing and mowing in meadows leading to scrub over-growth) and the burning and mowing of reeds is also a threat, especially in breeding areas.)
Threats:  Natural threats
(The species is susceptible to avian influenza so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the virus )
Importance:  Dangers
(It can cause considerable crop damage)

Habitat:  Estuarine, Coastal
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• Madhya Pradesh, Kanha National Park INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Avibase- the world database Available at -
  • Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent Buceros, Envis newsletter: Avian Ecology & Inland Wetlands 62pp Available at -
  • Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent ENVIS Newsletter: Avian Ecology and Inland Wetland 55pp Available at -
  • Manakadan R and Pittie A (2001) Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent BUCEROS Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetland 6(1) 26pp Available at -
  • Kumar A, sati JP and Tak CK (2003) Checklist of Indian Waterbids Buceros Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetlands 8(1) 30pp Available at -
  • Devarshi D (2005) Sighting of Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus at Kanha National Park (India) Indian birds 1(6) 146 Available at -
  • Balachandran S, Sathiyaselvam P and Panda S (2009) Bird atlas of Chilika Bombay Natural History Society 2-325pp Available at - NIO
  • Ali S and Ripley SD (1968) Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan Oxford university press 1 1-368pp Available at - NIO

Page last updated on:2013-03-07

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