Anser ferus, schaeff. Mus. Orn. p. 67, No. 214 (1789) ; Gould, B. of E. v. pl. 347 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. v. pl. 1 ; Hewitson, ii. p. 382, pl. cviii, fig. 2 ; Salvadori, Oat. B. Br. Mus. xxvii. p. 89 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 416 ; A. cinereus, Meyer, Taschenb, ii. p. 552 (1810) ; Naum. xi. p. 229, Taf. 285 ; Dresser, vi. p. 355, pl. 411 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 1089 ; Saunders, p. 397 ; Lilford, vii. p. 55, pl. 20 ; “ A. rubrirostris, Hodgs.” Gray, Cat. Hodgs. Coll. B. M. p. 144 (1846) ; Salvadori, tom. cit. p. 91.
Oie cendree, French ; Ganso, Portug, and Span. ; Oca selvatica, Ital. ; Graugans, German ; Graauwe Gans, Dutch ; Graagaas. Dan. and Norweg. ; Gragas, Swed. ; Iso-hanhi, Finn. ; Seryi-Gus, Russ. ; Sona, Hindu.
Male ad. (Scotland). Head, neck, and upper parts ashy brown, a narrow line of white on the forehead, the crown, back, and scapulars darker, the two latter with light brown edgings ; primaries grey, with dark brown ends ; secondaries dark brown ; central wing-coverts like the back, the rest ashy blue-grey ; rump ashy grey, the sides and tail-coverts white ; tail ashy- brown, tipped with white ; under parts dull white with a few black spots on the belly ; the flanks ashy brown, tipped with ashy white ; bill and legs flesh-coloured ; nail and claws white ; iris brown. Culmen 2.55, wing 18.0, tail 5.9, tarsus 3.3 inch. Sexes alike. Young rather duller in colour, with no black spots on the under parts.
Hab. Europe generally, from the North Cape to the Mediterranean ; Britain, breeding commonly in the north of Scotland ; Iceland, and the Faeroes ; North-west Africa in winter ; Asia east to China, north to Dauria, south to northern India.
Is shy and cautious, and frequents open localities. On the wing it is strong, and swims and even dives, and walks with ease, and, when traversing long distances, flies in a wedge¬shaped formation. It feeds on vegetable substances, tender shoots of grass, grain, etc., feeding chiefly at night. Its nest is placed on the ground and consists of grass, dried flags, etc., being lined, after the eggs are deposited, with abundance of down plucked by the female from off her breast. The eggs, which are deposited from early in April to the end of May or beginning of June, according to latitude, are glossless, but smooth in surface, dull yellowish white, with, when fresh laid, a very faint tinge of green, and measure about 3.52 by 2.28. In number they vary from 6 to 12.
Count Salvadori and several other authors separate the Asiatic bird (A. rubrirostris) from ours, but I agree with Mr. Blanford in not following this course.
820. Anser ferus