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Red-breasted Goose

The Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis) is a globally threatened long-distant migrant, classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. It breeds in Arctic Russia and migrates in winter around the northern and western coasts of the Black Sea. Gaps in knowledge include the extent of the breeding range, the sites used during migration and the distribution during winter when it is thought that significant numbers may occur away from the Black Sea coast.

Though the exact reason for the dramatic decline at the beginning of the century is largely unknown, several key threats are identified for Red-breasted Geese. Changes in agriculture and abandonment of grazing reduce food availability at staging and wintering grounds. Wind farm development result in the loss of feeding areas, and has the potential for significant mortality through collisions with turbines, while increased human development in the same areas is likely to result in loss of habitat and greater disturbance. The expansion of oil and gas operations in the breeding area may cause disturbance to breeding birds. In the past rodenticides have caused significant mortality of birds in the wintering grounds. Though legally protected throughout their range, geese are shot accidentally or deliberately in all range states. Climate change is predicted to have a number of direct effects and also to exacerbate other threats.

International cooperation is key in the effort to halt the decline of the Red-breasted Goose across its range. To this end an International Single Species Action Plan for the conservation of the Red-breasted Goose was adopted under the framework of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) in 2012. The implementation of the Action Plan is coordinated by the AEWA Red-breasted Goose International Working Group.