(1. Anser, Steph).
Bill strong and elevated; orange, the nail whitish: legs flesh-colour: wings not reaching to the extremity of the tail.
Anas Anser ferus, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. 11. p. 818. Gray-Lag Goose, Mont. Orn. Diet, & Supp. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 282. Gray-Lag Wild Goose, Selb. Illust. vol. II, p. 261. pl. 41.
Entire length two feet ten inches.
Head and neck clove-brown, tinged with gray, the feathers on this last part loose and furrowed: back, scapulars, greater and middle wing-coverts, clove-brown, the feathers deeply edged with grayish white; lesser wing-coverts, and base of the primary quills, bluish gray: breast and belly grayish-white, undulated with bars of a deeper tint: rump, abdomen, and under tail-coverts, pure white: tail deep clove-brown; the middle feathers edged with white; the outer one on each side almost wholly white: bill large and elevated; orange-red, the nail whitish: irides deep brown: legs flesh-colour. (Egg). Ivory white: smooth and shining: long. diam. three inches one line; trans, diam. two inches one line.
Said to have been formerly very plentiful in this country; and resident in the fens of Lincolnshire all the year. Now only met with in small flocks during the winter months, and that not very frequently. Breeds in marshes, and lays from five to ten eggs. Food, aquatic vegetables, and grain of all kinds. Obs. The Domestic Goose is usually considered as having been derived from this species, but such a circumstance is rendered highly improbable from the well known fact that the Common Gander after attaining a certain age is invariably white. Montagu also observes* that a specimen of the Anser ferus, which was shot in the wing by a farmer in Wiltshire, and kept alive many years, would never associate with the tame geese. In fact the origin of these last is unknown.