Sunday, 24 May 2015

Day 202 - Resplendent Red Breasted Geese

Red Breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis)
Hi all today's Day 202 and you may know that I like to go to Washington  Wetland Centre run by the Wildfowl & Wetland  Trust. This is understandable as it's such as good reserve and it's also for a good cause which is partly to look after endangered species. An example of a type of bird that occurs quite a lot there is geese. Today's post is all about one of these geese which we don't often get here wild as far as I can tell. The Red Breasted Goose!

So, here are the facts:
  • They are a threatened species and they are listed on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation for Nature) as endangered.
  • This is because in 2000 there were around 90,000 of them but over the next few years numbers crashed by around half.
In a little group
  • Possibly this is because they come into conflict with farmers, as they eat their crops and are disturbed by hunters after White Fronted Geese. In some places they are hunted too and hunting tourism is increasing which won't help their number!
  • Because of this, a campaign called 'Safe Ground for Redbreasts' was started. This is a project funded by the EU which cost 3 million Euros. This is working in Bulgaria where around 90% of the global population winters. They are satellite tagging the geese to understand them better.
  • They go to Artic Russia to breed mainly on the Taimyr, Gydan and Yamal peninsulas. 
  • When migrating they don't fly in a V formation like most geese, instead they fly in a big dense flock.
  • They are a very colourful, pretty goose and are also Europe's smallest goose at only 53-56cm tall.
  • Their diet is plant based and they eat grass, winter wheat, maize, barley etc.
And another little group
  • Despite being small they live quite a long time, up to 15 years in the wild and 25 years in captivity.
  • As they are small they are sometimes prey for foxes and other predators. So they cleverly nest near birds like Peregrine Falcon, Rough Legged Buzzards and Snowy owls as these provide protection from predators.
  • They have good breeding seasons when Lemming numbers are high as predators are well fed then and don't eat as many geese!
Well, this little bird is lovely and I hope it has a few good breeding years to help it out. If you want to find out more try these sites:

Hope you enjoyed,


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful geese, their plumage is beautiful! Lovely photos as always Zach. - Tasha