name = Goose
image_width = 240px
Canada Goose, "Branta canadensis"
tribus = Anserini
subdivision ="Anser" "
Branta" and see text
Goose (plural: geese) is the English name for a considerable number of
birds, belonging to the family Anatidae. This family also includes swans, most of which are larger than geese, and ducks, which are smaller.
This article deals with the true geese in the
subfamily Anserinae, tribe Anserini.
A number of other waterbirds, mainly related to the
shelducks, have "goose" as part of their name.
True geese are medium to large birds, always (with the exception of the Nēnē) associated to a greater or lesser extent with water. Most species in
Europe, Asia, and North Americaare strongly migratory as wild birds, breeding in the far north and wintering much farther south. However, escapes and introductions have led to resident feral populations of several species.
Geese have been
domesticatedfor thousands of years. In the West, farmyard geese are descended from the Greylag, but in Asia the Swan Goosehas been farmed for at least as long.
All geese eat a vegetarian diet, and can become pests when flocks feed on arable crops or inhabit ponds or grassy areas in urban environments. They also take
invertebrates if the opportunity presents itself; domestic geese will try out most novel food items for edibility. Geese usually mate for life, though a small number will "divorce" and remate. They tend to lay a smaller number of eggs than ducks but both parents protect the nest and young, which usually results in a higher survival rate for the young geese.
Not all couples are heterosexual, as both females and males will form long-term same-sex couples with greater or lesser frequency depending on species. [Bagemihl (1999): pp.479-481. More detailed data exists for
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, and Snow Goose.] Of the homosexual couples, a significant proportion are non-breeding despite having an active sexual life.
"Goose" in its origins is one of the oldest words of the
Indo-European languages (Crystal), the modern names deriving from the proto-Indo-European root, "ghans", hence Sanskrit"hamsa" (feminine "hamsii"), Latin "anser", Greek "khén" etc.
Germanic languages, the root word led to Old English "gos" with the plural "gés", German "Gans" and Old Norse "gas". Other modern derivatives are Russian "gus" and Old Irish "géiss"; the family name of the cleric Jan Husis derived from the Czech derivative "husa".
The male goose is called a gander (Anglo-Saxon "gandra") and the female is the goose ("Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)"); young birds before fledging are known as goslings. A group of geese on the ground is called a gaggle; when flying in formation, it is called a wedge or a skein (see also
list of collective nouns for birds).
The following are the living genera of true geese:
* "Anser" - Grey Geese, including the
domesticated gooseand the Swan Goose
* "Chen" - White Geese (often included in "Anser")
Branta" - Black Geese, such as the Canada goose
The following two genera are only tentatively placed in the Anserinae; they may belong to the
shelducks or form a subfamily on their own:
Cereopsis" - Cape Barren Goose
* "Cnemiornis" - New Zealand Geese (prehistoric)
Either these or - more probably - the goose-like
Coscoroba Swanis the closest living relative of the true geese. Fossils of true geese are hard to assign to genus; all that can be said is that their fossil record, particularly in North America, is dense and comprehensively documents a lot of the different species of true geese that have been around since about 10 million years agoin the Miocene. The aptly-named "Anser atavus" ("Great-great-great-grandfather goose") from some 12 million years ago had even more plesiomorphies in common with swans. In addition, there are some goose-like birds known from subfossilremains found on the Hawaiian Islands. See Anserinaefor more.
Other birds called "geese"
There are a number of mainly
southern hemispherebirds called "geese", most of which belong to the shelducksubfamily Tadorninae. These are:
Orinoco Goose, "Neochen jubata"
Egyptian Goose, "Alopochen aegyptiacus"
* The South American sheldgeese, genus "Chloephaga"
* The prehistoric
Madagascar Sheldgoose, "Centrornis majori", the "Woodard"Verify source|date=January 2008Fact|date=January 2008
Blue-winged Goose, "Cyanochen cyanopterus" belongs either to these, or to lineage closer to ducks.
Spur-winged Goose, "Plectropterus gambensis", is most closely related to the shelducks, but distinct enough to warrant its own subfamily, the Plectropterinae.
The three species of small waterfowl in the genus "
Nettapus" are named "pygmy geese", e.g. the Cotton Pygmy Goose("N. javanica"). They seem to represent an ancient lineage like the Cape Barren Goose and the Spur-winged Goose.
A genus of prehistorically
extinct seaducks, " Chendytes", is sometimes called "diving-geese" due to their large size.
Magpie-gooseis in a family of its own, the Anseranatidae.
Northern Gannet, a seabird, is also known as the "Solan Goose" although it is a bird unrelated to the true geese, or any other Anseriformesfor that matter.
Angel Wing- A disease common in geese.
Domesticated goose, which includes cooking and folklore
List of goose breeds
* (1999): "Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity". St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-19239-8
* (1992): Family Anatidae (Ducks, Geese and Swans). "In:" aut|del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew & Sargatal, Jordi (eds.): "
Handbook of Birds of the World" (Volume 1: Ostrich to Ducks): 536-629, plates 40-50. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 84-87334-10-5
* (1998): "The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language" (Paperback) ISBN 0-521-55967-7
* (1991): "The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds". Wings Books, New York. Reprint of 1980 edition. ISBN 0-517-03288-0
* [http://ibc.hbw.com/ibc/phtml/familia.phtml?idFamilia=27 Goose videos] on the Internet Bird Collection
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