Meet our wild geese!

meet our wild geese

Meet our wild geese

Hello! I don’t know about you, but I love hearing the wild geese and seeing their flocks sailing through the air at this time of the year. So I thought it would be a nice opportunity to meet some of our wild (and not quite so wild) geese. Are you ready? Lets get started!

barnacle goose

Barnacle goose

Barnacle geese can be identified by their black necks and white faces, and by the alternating blue-grey bars on their wings.

brent goose

Brent goose

Brent geese are recognised by the large white patches beneath their tails and by the strip of white around their throats.

canada goose

Canada goose

Canada geese are large with brown coloured wings and black necks with a white band around their cheeks.

white-fronted goose

White-fronted goose

White-fronted geese can be identified by the coloured ring around their eyes and the white mask above their beaks.


Greylag goose

Greylag geese are large, have broad orange beaks, pink legs, white undertails and are light brown in colour.

egyptian goose

Egyptian goose

Egyptian geese are small and pale brown with a prominent brown eye path and a large white area on their wings.

What makes a goose, a goose?

Geese tend to be larger than ducks and smaller than swans. They often feed on land, but prefer to return to the safety of the water at night. They are also usually quite sociable and stay in constant contact with each other – hence their evocative calls as they fly.

Do all geese fly in Vs?

While we tend to envision all geese flying in a beautiful V shape as they fly, in fact, not all of them do.

  • Barnacle geese fly in large, irregular packs.
  • White-fronted geese and brent geese fly in either irregular packs or long, scattered lines.
  • Bean geese, pink-footed geese, greylag geese and Canada geese are those which are most often seen flying in typical V formation. (You can find out why geese fly in V formations here).

Where do geese fly to in the winter?

When we see geese flying in the autumn, we often assume they are migrating and leaving our shores. However, many flocks are actually arriving here from the ice-clad Tundra in search of our milder climate.
White-fronted geese arrive here from Greenland, Brent geese travel some 3,500 miles from Canada and Pink-footed geese herald from Iceland. As for Canada geese, they did used to travel from Canada, but these days most of the geese we see live here all year round.
That’s right… rather than leaving, they come to our shores from further north in search of food and water. Althought with rising temperatures around the Arctic circle, less and less geese are needing to make this long, autumnal journey.


Well, there we go! I hope you enjoyed this post and feel a little familiar with how to identify some of our wild geese when you see them. To be notified about new nature walk and nature study tutorials, you can subscribe to my blog by clicking the button below x

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Hello, I’m Leila! Welcome to My Nature Nook. I help families learn about and connect with Nature. Learn more

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