Greylag Goose Anser anser


When the September counts started in Sweden 1984 a total of 20000 Greylag Geese were counted in the country, mainly in the south. As in other parts of Europe numbers increased and  in September 2006 more than 200000Greylags were actually counted and the population was probably even larger. The September counts in 2007 were somewhat lower, but some sites were not covered and the population was certainly in the higher than 200000. During the last three September counts up to 2010 numbers have been around 225 000.

Numbers counted in the years 2011 - 2014 were lower, but this was most probably an effect of reduced coverage. For a period intensive counts were made in areas that are normally not covered by countes but this project ended after 2010. After some years with low September counts more than 200000 Greylag Geese were once again counted in Sweden in September 2015, although the total was lower than during the peak. In September 2017 no less than close to 240000 were found in Sweden, the highest total to date. The coverage in September 2018 was not so good and only 170000 Greylag Geese were reported. Some important sites could unfortunately not be covered. The coverag was better again in September 2019 and 233000 Greylag were counted, which was only slightly lower than the peak count two years before.

From the neckbanding programme it is known that the majority of Swedish Greylag Geese remain in the country at the time of the September counts. During the years the Greylags have changed their migration habits and stay longer and longer in Sweden in the autumn(and arrive back earlier in spring). Accordingly October counts have increased too, and in October 2008 a peak was reached with 156000. October 2016 and 2017 had the highest totals for that month with close to 180000 Greylag Geese counted. A large part of the population leaves Sweden before November, but the November totals increased too. November counts were more variable as areas north of Scania sometimes experiences the first frost before the November count. The highest count for the month, 90000 was noted for 2015.

During the early years of Greylag Goose counts, the species was mostly restricted to the southern part of the country. The majority are still found here but there has been a spread along the coasts of the Bothnian Sea and Bothnian Bay during recent years.

In recent years more and more Greylags have started to winter in Sweden. Before the year 2000 only small numbers were seen in Sweden in January, but in the mild winters of 2007 and 2008 close to 50000 were counted and the total in Sweden was most probably even higher still. The species wsas also much more spread in these two very mild winters with Greylags seen all over south Sweden and not only in the southernmost province of Scania. The winters 2010 and 2011 were colder with snow even in south Sweden. Especially 2010/11 was a very early winter with freezing condtions even in the southernmost parts from late November until early January. Evenso close to 12000 Greylags remained in the country.2012 was once again a milder winter, at least before the midwinter count and about 40000 Greylags were found in the country whereas only about 20000 were counted in January 2013. January 2014 - 2017 were a little milder and between 30000 and 37000 Greylag Geese were counted in the country. In 2018, a very mild winter no less than 46000 Greylag Geese were counted in Sweden, mainly in the south. 2019 was once again a mild winter in south Sweden and the highest record for January was recorded with more than 55000 Greylags counted.


Distribution maps

Annual totals (diagrams) 

Monthly totals

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Page last updated 2020-02-04