Greylag goose is the largest geese native to our region, with a large heavy head and a large, triangular, completely orange bill. The plumage is greyish-brown overall, with upperpart feathers tipped buffish-white, forming pale lines. The belly of greylag goose is buffish-grey in colour and is predominantly plain, although sometimes with some darker blotching. In flight the bird shows obviously contrasting pale blue-grey forewings. The vent, uppertail coverts and rim of the grey-centred tail are white. The legs are thick and pink. The race rubirostris, found from south-eastern Europe to Siberia, has a wholly pink bill and is paler and greyer overall.
Favours wetlands such as lochs, lakes, swamps and reedbeds, which are close to the meadows and pastures that provide its feeding habitat. In England introduced birds are often seen around lakes and reservoirs, whereas wild populations favour similar habitats but where there is less disturbance from man and his activities. In winter Greylag Geese frequent estuaries, floods and marshes, and feed in arable fields on grass and roots.
Their calls are a familiar - if annoying! - sound around wetlands in England (where the population is feral), not least because of the similarity to the sounds of domestic farmyard geese. A variety of loud and rather rough honking calls are given, and the typical flight call can be described as "aahng-ung-ung". When birds are in a group on the ground they give a low conversational cackling, such as "a'uuh'aauk'uuh'aah'uh'ah'a" and "nga'nga'nga'gug", which changes into shorter,sharper "ghang" notes if birds are alarmed, or a series of short sharp notes if they have a strong urge to fly.