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The real goose is only those belonging to the genus of the Anserini, which includes about 150 species. Geese are relatively large birds that spend most of their lives in the water.
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Distinctive features of geese are their short legs and webbed feet, which are particularly functional for swimming and, in general, movements in the water, much less for movements on land.
Geese are not only waterbirds but also excellent flyers. They have flat and wide beaks with transversal lamellae, which are used for filtering the water when looking for food.
The body is covered by thick plumage, which can take on different colors depending on the species. They differ from ducks because they are clumsier and have more abundant softer plumage.
They also spend much more time on land than ducks. They have a loud, squawking voice, a small head, and a long neck. The body is stocky, and the wings are extended.
There are no significant differences between males and females except for the voice, which is taller and higher in the male. They weigh, as an average, five or six kilos, but, in some cases, if fattened, they may weigh even 10 kilos.
The geese are equipped with a fat-secreting gland, which is used to make the feathers waterproof. If they feel threatened, they begin to peck vigorously to defend themselves or to drive away any aggressor.
Since they have no teeth, they cannot bite. They are sociable animals; they always live and move in groups. They feed mainly on leaves and shoots of plants, grains of wheat, grasses, and aquatic plants.
Geese are migratory birds, and migrations always take place in groups. Each flock consists of several specimens of the same family. The geese are mainly divided into three genera.
The geese are vegetarian, although sometimes they do not disdain insects and small invertebrates. Domestic geese are often fed leftovers of all kinds.
The wild geese live mainly in Europe, Asia, and North America. Most species are migratory and nest in the north and winter in the south.
The geese have been domesticated for many centuries and have been transformed into backyard animals par excellence.
In the West, domestic geese are descended from the wild goose, while in Asia, swan geese have been bred for a long time. These are incredibly ductile animals that adapt to different habitats and environments, even if they prefer temperate climates.