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Geese are usually divided into two main groups: the 'grey' geese and the 'black' geese. Grey geese are all large birds with an overall brown-grey plumage mottled and streaked by various shades. The greylag goose, the ancestor of our farmyard goose, is the largest and best known. White-fronted goose and pink-footed goose are winter visitor from the far north.

Originally kept as an ornamental species, the egyptian goose has escaped its captivity and now breeds on large lakes and ponds in London and much of East Anglia.

Of the black geese, canada goose and barnacle goose occur in Essex as introduced species breeding on lakes and reservoirs. Both are basically black-and-white. Brent goose is a winter visitor in large numbers to our estuaries.

© Gerald Downey