1579. Anser ferus.
The Grey Lag Goose.
Anser ferus, Schaeff. Mus. Orn. p. 67 (1789) ; Adams, P. Z. S. 1859, p. 189. Anser cinereus, Meyer & Wolf, Taschenb.ii,-p. 552 (1810); Blyth, Cat. p. 300 ; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 779; Blyth, Ibis, 1807, p. 174; Hume, S. F. i, p. 258; Butler & Hume, 8. F. iv, p. 26 ; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 231; Hume, ibid. p. 491; id. Cat. no. 945; id. S. F. viii, pp. 408, 421; Hume Marsh. Game B. iii, p. 55, pl. ; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1072, note ; Reid, S. F. x, p. 78; Butler, ibid. p. 163; Eden, ibid. p. 163; Taylor, ibid. p. 531; Hume & Cripps, S. F. xi, p. 339; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 394. Anser rubrirostris, Hodgs., G. R. Gray, Cat. Mamm. etc. Coll. Hodgson, p. 144 (descr. nulla); Salvadori, Cat. B. M. xxvii, p. 91.
The Grey Goose, Jerdon; Sona, Kurria-Sona, Hans, Raj-hans, H. ; Kallauk ?, Kar-hans, Bhagulpur; Mogala, Mogala-battak, Nepal Terai; Kangnai, Manipur.
Coloration. Head, neck, and upper back brown; scapulars, tertiaries, and some of the median wing-coverts darker brown with pale edges; lower back and rump ashy grey, brownish grey in younger birds ; upper tail-coverts white ; outer two or three pairs of tail-feathers white, middle pairs greyish brown with white edges and tips ; all outer wing-coverts near the edge of the wing, primary-coverts, wing-lining, and axillaries ashy grey; primaries grey at base, blackish brown towards the tip; secondaries blackish brown, all shafts of quills white; lower parts from neck greyish or brownish white, more or less blotched on abdomen in old birds with blackish brown; sides and flanks greyish brown, with pale edges to the feathers, producing bars.
Bill, legs, and feet from creamy white to flesh-coloured, sometimes even purplish red; irides brown (Hume).
Length 32; tail 6; wing 18; tarsus 3.1; bill from gape 2.75. Females run smaller.
Distribution. This Goose breeds in Europe north of about 50° lat., and in Central Asia and Southern Siberia, and migrates in winter to Southern Europe, North Africa, South-western Asia, and Northern India. Within our area it is common, from the end of October to the beginning of March, in the Punjab, Sind, and the North-west Provinces; it occurs, though rather less abundantly, throughout Northern India, Assam, and Manipur, and it is common in the Irrawaddy valley north of Myingyan. It is met with as far south as the Nerbudda on the west, and the Chilka Lake, in Orissa on the east; but is seldom found south of the Gangetic plain inland. Salvadori and some others distinguish the Eastern race as A. rubri-rostris, but the only difference is that old birds are rather darker below, and I doubt if this is constant.
Habits, &c. In winter the Grey-Lag is generally found in flocks, often large, of 200 to 1000 birds or more, which feed on grass and green crops in the morning and evening, and pass the day on the sands of one of the larger rivers, or the edge of a lake or marsh, rarely entering the water. Young birds, when well-fed on green crops, are excellent to eat. Wild Geese if captured are easily tamed, and from the present species is derived the Domestic Goose of Europe; but Blyth has stated that the tame Geese of India are a mixed race, and hybrids between A. ferus and the Chinese A. (or Cygnopsis) cygnoides.