Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
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.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2016 Vulnerable A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd
2015 Vulnerable A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd
2012 Endangered A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd
2008 Endangered A2b,c,d; A3b,c,d; A4b,c,d
2007 Endangered
2006 Vulnerable
2004 Vulnerable
2000 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable
1988 Threatened
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Land-mass type - continent
Average mass -
Extent of occurrence (EOO)

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 1,140,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 871,000 medium
Number of locations 6-10 -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals good estimated 2013
Population trend Decreasing medium suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 30-49 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 30-49 - - -
Number of subpopulations 1 - - -
Largest subpopulations 100 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 10.9 - - -

Population justification: Coordinated censuses in January 2003, 2004 and 2005 resulted in total population estimates of 33,600, 52,800 and 32,100 individuals respectively. The geometric mean of these totals 38,500. Recalculating this including the 2006 count of c.34,000 gives a revised geometric mean of 37,000 individuals. However, total counts of 40,800 in spring 2008 (primarily as a result of a large count in Kalmykia), 44,300 the following winter (Cranswick et al. 2010) and a potential population count of 56,860 in autumn 2010 (Rozenfeld 2011a) lend further weight to the suggestion that counts in the mid 2000s might be partially incomplete because birds wintered away from the traditionally surveyed sites. In 2015, Wetlands International increased its global population estimate from c. 44,000 to c. 56,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015).

Trend justification:

Variation in survey intensity and coverage historically makes determination of trends difficult. Following a count of 60,000 in the mid 1950s, totals rarely exceeded 20,000 until intensive winter surveys in the 1990s recorded over 70,000. Two counts of just under 90,000 in the late 1990s were considered accurate (Aarvak et al. 1996, D. Hulea in litt. 2003) and an increase since the 1970s. Coordinated winter counts were then initiated in Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine since 1995, with at least one count in each winter month. Only around 30,000 were recorded in the early 2000s. It has been suggested that some birds may have been overlooked, wintering further east than expected (in eastern Ukraine or south-west Russia) where survey coverage was much less comprehensive or absent, though no new wintering sites have been found. Numbers recorded during winter surveys recovered slightly, with an average of 37,300 during the mid 2000s (S. Dereliev in litt. to Wetlands International 2005), but representing a decline of more than 50% since the late 1990s.

Counts during migration periods since 2008 have recorded larger numbers, e.g. 40,800 in spring 2008 in Kalmykia, 56,860 in autumn 2010 in Northern Kazakhstan (Rozenfeld 2011a) and c. 150,000 individuals in autumn 2012 (Rozenfeld et al. 2012). The use of such areas during migration potentially make survey efforts more effective, concentrating birds that may be widely dispersed during winter, though rapid turnover at sites during migration also presents potential problems of missing or double-counting birds; and differences in methods of generating population estimates may also be leading to the different estimates between migratory stopover points and wintering areas (N. Petkov in litt. 2016). In January 2013, c. 56,000 birds were counted in Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine (N. Petkov in litt. 2013), with nearly 54,000 in Bulgaria (Illiev and Petkov 2015); however post-January 2013 numbers in Bulgaria and Romania have failed to reach 30,000 individuals (E. Todorov in litt. 2015). These findings suggest that during milder winters birds may now winter farther east where survey effort is less comprehensive (Cranswick et al. 2012). Recent surveys also suggest that the species may be wintering farther west, with more than 2,000 wintering in Hungary (mainly Hortobágy National Park) in winter 2014-2015 (T. Zalai in litt. 2015). The recently published European Red List of Birds suggests that the European population is declining, but only slightly (BirdLife International 2015). Whilst migration counts suggest a recent increase, further corroboration is required to confirm an accurate current estimate.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan U Extant Yes
Armenia N Extant Yes Yes
Austria N Extant Yes Yes
Azerbaijan V Extant
Belarus V Extant
Belgium V Extant
Bosnia and Herzegovina V Extant
Bulgaria N Extant Yes
China (mainland) V Extant
Croatia N Extant Yes
Cyprus V Extant Yes
Denmark V Extant Yes
Egypt V Extant
Finland V Extant
France V Extant Yes
Georgia V Extant
Germany V Extant Yes
Greece N Extant Yes
Greenland (to Denmark) V Extant
Hungary V Extant Yes
India V Extant
Iran, Islamic Republic of N Extant Yes
Iraq N Extant Yes
Ireland V Extant Yes
Israel V Extant Yes
Italy V Extant
Kazakhstan N Extant Yes
Kyrgyzstan U Extant Yes
Latvia V Extant
Moldova N Extant Yes Yes
Montenegro N Extant Yes
Netherlands V Extant
North Macedonia N Extant Yes
Norway V Extant
Poland V Extant
Romania N Extant Yes
Russia N Extant Yes Yes Yes
Russia (Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (Central Asian) N Extant Yes Yes
Russia (European) N Extant Yes Yes
Serbia N Extant Yes
Slovakia V Extant Yes
South Korea V Extant
Spain V Extant
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) V Extant
Sweden V Extant
Syria U Extant Yes
Tajikistan U Extant Yes
Turkey N Extant Yes
Turkmenistan U Extant Yes
Ukraine N Extant Yes Yes
United Kingdom V Extant
Uzbekistan U Extant Yes Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Azerbaijan Gizilagach State Reserve
Bulgaria Atanasovsko Lake
Bulgaria Burgasko Lake
Bulgaria Durankulak Lake
Bulgaria Kaliakra
Bulgaria Kalimok Complex
Bulgaria Mandra-Poda complex
Bulgaria Pozharevo Island
Bulgaria Shabla Lake Complex
Bulgaria Srebarna
Bulgaria Straldzha Complex
Bulgaria Svishtov-Belene Lowland
Greece Evros delta
Iran, Islamic Republic of Lake Kobi
Iran, Islamic Republic of Miankaleh Peninsula and Gorgan Bay
Iraq Dalmaj Marsh
Iraq Dukan Lake
Kazakhstan Aksuat Lake
Kazakhstan Akzhan Lake
Kazakhstan Balykty Lake
Kazakhstan Batpakkol lake
Kazakhstan Bolshoy Kak Lake
Kazakhstan Irgiz-Turgay Lakes
Kazakhstan Kamyshovoe-Zhamankol Lakes
Kazakhstan Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve
Kazakhstan Koybagar-Tyuntyugur Lake System
Kazakhstan Kulykol-Taldykol Lake System
Kazakhstan Kushmurun Lake
Kazakhstan Maliy Kak Lake
Kazakhstan Naurzum State Nature Reserve
Kazakhstan Sankebay Lakes
Kazakhstan Sarykopa Lake System
Kazakhstan Shaglyteniz Lake and marshes
Kazakhstan Shagyrkol and Mamyrkol lakes
Kazakhstan Shoshkaly Lake System
Kazakhstan Sorbalyk-Maybalyk Lake System
Kazakhstan Sulukol Lake
Kazakhstan Terenkol Lake
Kazakhstan Zhaltyr Lake
Kazakhstan Zharsor-Urkash Salt Lakes
Kazakhstan Zhylandy Lake
Kazakhstan Zhylandy Lake
Moldova Lower Prut River and Manta-Beleu Lake
Romania Balta Albă - Amara - Jirlău
Romania Balta Mică a Brăilei
Romania Beştepe - Mahmudia
Romania Black Sea
Romania Braţul Borcea
Romania Ciocăneşti - Dunăre
Romania Danube Delta
Romania Dobrogei gorge
Romania Dunăre - Ostroave
Romania Ianca - Plopul - Sărat
Romania Iezerul Călăraşi
Romania Lake Beibugeac (Plopu)
Romania Lake Brateş
Romania Lake Bugeac
Romania Lake Dunăreni
Romania Lake Fundata
Romania Lake Oltina
Romania Lake Siutghiol
Romania Lake Strachina
Romania Lake Taşaul
Romania Lake Tataru
Romania Lake Techirghiol
Romania Limanu - Herghelia
Romania Măxineni
Russia (Asian) Gusikha river basin and lower Balakhnya river
Russia (Asian) Pura river basin
Russia (Asian) Terpyey-Tumus
Russia (Asian) Trekhozerki lakes
Russia (Asian) Ulukhkol' lake
Russia (Central Asian) Atyazh lakes
Russia (Central Asian) Dvuob'ye
Russia (Central Asian) Lower Ob'
Russia (Central Asian) Makushinsky Zakaznik
Russia (Central Asian) Mouth of the Uy river
Russia (Central Asian) Pelymsky Tuman
Russia (Central Asian) Siverga lake
Russia (Central Asian) Upper and Middle Yuribey
Russia (Central Asian) Valley of the Yorkutayakha river
Russia (European) Dadynskiye lakes
Russia (European) Delta of the River Don
Russia (European) Islands in the western part of Lake Manych-Gudilo
Russia (European) Kazachka
Russia (European) Kissyk area
Russia (European) Kozinka lake and Baranikovski segment of Manych
Russia (European) Kulaksay lowland
Russia (European) Kurnikov liman
Russia (European) Lysyi Liman lake and valley of Vostochniy Manych river
Russia (European) Manychstroi area
Russia (European) Moksha flood-plain in vicinity of Krasnoslobodsk
Russia (European) Moksha valley in vicinity of Temnikov
Russia (European) Novotroitskoye reservoir
Russia (European) Ptich'ye (Bird's) Lake
Russia (European) Sarpinskaya lake-system
Russia (European) Shalkaro-Zhetykol'ski lake system
Russia (European) Southern part of Chograiski reservoir
Russia (European) Veselovskoye reservoir
Russia (European) Vorono-Khoperski area
Turkey Büyükçekmece Lake
Turkey Gediz Delta
Turkey Saros Bay
Turkey Terkos Basin
Turkey Tuz Lake
Ukraine Agricultural lands near Bilorets'ke (Chornozemne village)
Ukraine Askania-Nova Biosphere Reserve
Ukraine Chauda
Ukraine Kakhovs'ke reservoir (Energodar)
Ukraine Kakhovs'ke reservoir (Kozats'ki islands)
Ukraine Karkinits'ka and Dzharylgats'ka bays
Ukraine Khadzhybejs'kyj lyman
Ukraine Kugurluj and Kartal lakes
Ukraine Kytaj lake
Ukraine Shagany-Alibej-Burnas lake-system
Ukraine Snake island
Ukraine Yagorlyts'ka and Tendrivs'ka Bays

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land major non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland marginal non-breeding
Grassland Temperate major non-breeding
Grassland Tundra major breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) unset breeding
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species disturbance
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Unintentional effects (species is not the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation
Energy production & mining Oil & gas drilling Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Energy production & mining Renewable energy Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 4
Species mortality
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Species disturbance
Human intrusions & disturbance Work & other activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Species disturbance

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - Non-trivial Recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Branta ruficollis. Downloaded from on 26/02/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/02/2020.