Branta ruficollis 

Scope: Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Anseriformes Anatidae

Scientific Name: Branta ruficollis (Pallas, 1769)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Red-breasted Goose
Spanish Barnacla Cuellirroja
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Taxonomic Notes:

Identification information: 53-56 cm. Unmistakable red, black and white goose. Chestnut-red foreneck, breast and sides of head, bordered white. White flank-stripe and black belly. White rear belly and black tail. Juvenile generally duller than adult. Short neck and dark belly stand out in flight. Similar spp. Can be surprisingly difficult to detect amongst large flocks of other geese. Voice Repeated, jerky kik-yoik, kik-yik in flight.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened (Regional assessment) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-03-31
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Burfield, I., Ieronymidou, C., Pople, R., Wheatley, H. & Wright, L
European regional assessment: Near Threatened (NT)
EU27 regional assessment: Near Threatened (NT)

Within Europe and the EU27 the winter population of this apparently declining goose is often restricted to a few locations within a small total area. It is therefore precautionarily listed as Near Threatened (B2ab(iii,v)).

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:In winter many birds migrate to south-east Europe. Prior to the 1950s, much of the population occurred along the western coast of the Caspian Sea, mainly in Azerbaijan. The wintering area then rapidly shifted to the western Black Sea coast, and 80-90% of birds now congregate in January/ February at 5–10 roost sites on the Black Sea coast, particularly at Shabla Lakes and Durankulak Lake, Bulgaria, Razelm-Sinoe lagoons, Romania, and in the coastal area between the rivers Danube and Dniester in Ukraine (Cranswick et al. 2010, Rusev et al. 2008, A. Mikityuk in litt. 1999). Small numbers also winter in Azerbaijan. The precise distribution in winter varies according to the severity of the weather from the Crimean peninsula to the Dobrudzha region of Bulgaria. In cold weather, small numbers are occasionally on the Aegean shore of Greece and Turkey (Cranswick et al. 2010); during prolonged mild periods, significant numbers may remain in Kalmykya, Stavropol and Rostov districts in Russia (S. Rozenfeld in litt. 2012). Migration is believed to follow a relatively narrow route south down the Ob to Kazakhstan and then east to the Black Sea. The known main staging areas include the Kumo-Manych depression in Russia and they are also regularly recorded in small numbers on passage in Hungary (e.g., Pigniczki 2008). There may be other, currently unknown, staging sites and knowledge of the migration route should therefore be considered incomplete. It is also possible that some wintering grounds remain undetected (perhaps in eastern Ukraine and southwest Russia), and use of these areas during mild weather may account for the variation in winter survey totals in recent years.
Countries occurrence:
Armenia; Austria; Bulgaria; Croatia; Greece; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Montenegro; Romania; Russian Federation (European Russia); Serbia; Turkey; Ukraine
Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Cyprus; Denmark; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Greenland; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Slovakia; Spain; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Sweden; United Kingdom
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:2000Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:345000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):NoExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:6-10Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:22679954-1

Population [top]

Population:The minimum European population in winter is estimated at 10,800-81,600 individuals, which equates to 7,200-54,400 individuals mature individuals. There exists also a marginal breeding population in Europe estimated at 5-10 pairs, which equates to 10-20 mature individuals. The species occurs in the EU27 only in winter and the minimum population is estimated at 9,900-74,900 individuals, which equates to 6,600-49,900 mature individuals. For details of national estimates, see the supplementary material.

Trend Justification:  In Europe and the EU27 the population size in winter is estimated to be suffering a continuing decline. For details of national estimates, see attached PDF. It is thought that a significant number of birds may winter outside the surveyed area, particularly during mild winters which have become more frequent in recent years, partly explaining the decreasing trend. It is possible that this may continue in the near future, owing to the warming climate (Cranswick et al. 2012.).
For further information about this species, see 22679954_branta_ruficollis.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:7200-54400,14900Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:1Continuing decline in subpopulations:No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species breeds in northern Siberia to the east of the Urals and winters along the coast of the Black Sea (Tucker and Heath 1994). It winters in low arable land near lakes and reservoirs (Carboneras and Kirwan 2014) which they use to roost at night. It arrives October to November and departs between March and early May. The species feeds on grasses, sedges and some aquatic plants, particularly in winter, as well green sprouts of cereals, grain and tubers.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):10.9
Movement patterns:Full Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Deliberate hunting of birds occurs in Russia (Rozenfeld 2009, 2011b). Following land privatization, and especially the residential and tourist development boom in winter roosting and feeding areas, the quality of roosting areas has decreased. In addition, the low profitability of agriculture has reduced the area under winter wheat cultivation which, together with conversion to other crops, has decreased the availability of food. Some key feeding sites have been lost in Bulgaria (S. Dereliev in litt. 1999). Hunting pressure on waterfowl as a whole is substantial in Bulgaria and Romania, including illegal shooting of Red-breasted Goose (Simeonov in litt. 2007). There are no effective hunting-free areas around roost sites in Bulgaria (hunting is only prohibited for 100 m around the lake edge and this rule is regularly ignored). However, conservation activities in the area of Shabla and Durankulak lakes reduced deliberate shooting of the species in 2010-2012 (N. Petkov in litt. 2012). Disturbance in the lakes used for roosts is also caused by poachers and fishermen (Dereliev 1997, D. Hulea in litt. 2006). Disturbance/chasing of feeding birds by hunters (because they associate with White-fronted Geese (Anser erythropus), a legal quarry species) is a significant limitation on foraging behaviour and prenuptial accumulation of fat reserves, which has a negative effect on survival during spring migration and breeding (N. Petkov in litt. 2007). Hunting by tourists in Ukraine poses an increasing threat (WWT TWSG News 10 1997) and birds are shot at staging grounds in Russia. Other threats in wintering areas include the use of rodenticides and displacement by windfarms. Windfarms have undergone a major expansion in the wintering areas since 2008. Many thousands of wind turbines have been proposed in Dobrudhza area both in Bulgaria and Romania, including large complexes adjacent to IBAs and SPAs. Data analysis from wintering grounds in Bulgaria suggest that the constructed windfarms are already having an impact, leading to displacement and shifting of the foraging areas (Petkov et al. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. CMS Appendix I and II. It is legally protected in key states (Hunter et al. 1999). It is listed in the (national and regional) Red Book of Russia and Red Book of Bulgaria. Principal wintering roost sites are protected (some qualifying as Ramsar sites), including the implementation of hunting regulations and hunting-free areas in Russia, although hunting occurs in many feeding areas. A management plan is being implemented for roosting lakes in Bulgaria (S. Dereliev in litt. 1999). Wintering sites in Bulgaria and Romania are monitored and research and public awareness projects are ongoing (S. Dereliev in litt. 1999; D. Hulea in litt. 1999; Hunter et al. 1999). An International Action Plan was published in 2010 (Cranswick et al. 2010). An International Species Working Group is active and a coordinator is in place. In 2010 an EU Life project began in Bulgaria, which aims to address many of the key threats operating on the wintering grounds. A study of geese distribution, movements and feeding preferences will enable a sensitivity map to be developed and goose-sensitive guidance provided to authorities to help guide development proposals. A payment for the species has been included in the national agri-environmental programme of Romania. In Bulgaria, an agri-environmental payment to farmers for seeding winter wheat in key wintering areas for geese was introduced in 2012. Spring-hunting of wildfowl was prohibited in south-west Russia in spring 2012. Since 2010, a joint Bulgarian-U.S. project has been initiated to consolidate research into the species's ecology and to promote its conservation via engagement with local stakeholders, including landowners and farmers (Carboneras and Kirwan 2014).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Study migration patterns and determine species's non-breeding range using satellite telemetry. Expand monitoring and research programmes, especially in Ukraine and Romania to determine whether more birds are overwintering there. Implement a Strategy for Hunting and Waterbird Resource Management (Rozenfeld 2011b). Regulate hunting in key sites (particularly spring hunting in Russia). Monitor and reduce disturbance and illegal hunting. Identify and protect key staging areas. Prevent loss of roosting lakes to urbanization. Monitor changes in agriculture and propose measures (in EU agri-environmental measures) to ensure suitable foraging habitat is available. Promote beneficial agricultural policies and spatial crop rotation planning around roosting areas. Continue public awareness initiatives. Lobby for full designation of qualifying wetlands and feeding areas as Natura 2000 sites, ensure hunting is not allowed within them and ensure they are properly managed.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Branta ruficollis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22679954A59955354. . Downloaded on 25 September 2018.
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