Anser– Grey/white geese

The ancestors of almost all the modern domestic geese

Anser geese are commonly associated with wetland ecosystems, providing the necessary water supply and the rich, diverse vegetation these birds require for their diet. Their preferred habitats are often characterized by open country, which allows for ease of movement on land and access to bodies of water like lakes, marshes, and lagoons. The adjacent meadows and fringe vegetation are crucial for offering shelter, nesting sites, and various food sources.

During winter, these birds may migrate to areas with milder climates, often found in agricultural regions. Here, they capitalize on the available resources, including leftover grains from harvested fields. This seasonal behavior illustrates the geese’s flexibility and ability to adapt to different environments to meet their nutritional needs.

Anser geese are herbivorous, with a diet primarily consisting of grasses, leaves, roots, stems, and sprouts from various plant species. In addition to natural vegetation, they are known to consume fruits, adapting their diet according to the seasonal food availability. During the harsher winter, their diet may include more grains and vegetables, often available in agricultural settings.

Feeding techniques among Anser geese are diverse. They are adept grazers on land, utilizing their strong, serrated bills to clip grass and other plants with ease. In aquatic environments, they exhibit the behavior known as “upending,” where they tip forward in the water to reach submerged vegetation, much like ducks. This foraging strategy is quite effective and allows them to access food sources that are not available to purely terrestrial feeders.

The genus Anser’s contribution to domesticated geese is significant. Through centuries of selective breeding, various domestic breeds have been developed from these wild ancestors for their meat, eggs, and down. The domestication process has highlighted certain traits, such as increased body size and docility, which have made them suitable for farming and close human association.