Stress responses involve autonomic, endocrine and behavioural changes. Each of these responses has been studied thoroughly in avian species, but hardly in an integrative way, in free-living birds. This is necessary to reveal the temporal dynamics of the stress response. Towards that goal, we recorded heart rate (HR) and behaviour in free-ranging male greylag geese (Anser anser) simultaneously over 2h. The geese were subjected to (a) unmanipulated control condition, (b) capture, handling and injection of ACTH, and (c) capture, handling and injection of a saline solution (SHAM). Fecal samples for the non-invasive determination of immuno-reactive glucocorticoid metabolite (BM) concentrations were collected for 7h thereafter. The SHAM control caused a significant BM increase, a transient increase in HR, an initial increase of preening behaviour and a delay in feeding. ACTH treatment, relative to SHAM, produced significantly higher BM concentrations, and activation of "displacement behaviours" such as wing flapping, body shaking and preening. Also, feeding activity as well as resting was postponed and/or lower for a longer period of time after ACTH than after SHAM. ACTH injection had a greater effect than SHAM injection on HR increase in the first hour, but particularly on HR decline in the second hour following the injection. Hence, glucocorticoids had time- and dose-dependent stimulatory and suppressive effects on cardiovascular activity and behaviour. HR dynamics after ACTH actually matched with behavioural dynamics: both were first enhanced and later suppressed, which is in alignment with adaptive stress management involving the fight-flight response and recovery from stress, respectively.