Red-breasted goose

(Branta ruficollis)


Red-breasted goose IUCN VULNERABLE (VU)


Facts about this animal

With a body-weight of only 1.4 to 1.6 kg in males, and 1.1 to 1.2 kg in females, the red-breasted goose is the smallest of all Branta species.

Breeding is semi-colonial. 3 to 7 cream-coloured eggs are laid, which are incubated exclusively by the female for 23-25 days.

The red-breasted goose nests in tundra, where breeding success may depend on nesting Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) and Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca) providing protection from predators such as Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus). The species has a small wintering range with 80-90 % of the population concentrated in just five roost sites and the remainder occurring in a few other areas. Wintering geese feed on winter wheat, barley, maize, pasture grasses and, in Greece, natural grassland.

Did you know?
that climate change and associated habitat shifts are expected to impact negatively on this species dependent on tundra habitat for breeding? Modelling indicates that two-thirds of the habitat for this species could be lost by 2070.


Class AVES
Suborder ANSERES
Name (Scientific) Branta ruficollis
Name (English) Red-breasted goose
Name (French) Oie à cou roux
Name (German) Rothalsgans
Name (Spanish) Barnacla cuelliroja
Local names Estonian: Punakael-lagle
Greek: Kokkinóchina
Romanian: Gasca cu gat rosu
Turkish: Sibirya Kaz?
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Appendix I Appendix II (as Anatidae spp.) Included in AEWA



Photo Copyright by
Adrian Pingstone



Range Breeding in Russia, wintering along the Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Eastern Mediterranean, and north end of the Arabian Gulf: Azerbaijan. Bulgaria, Greece, Kazakhstan, Romania, Iraq, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine. Vagrants and escaped birds in many countries of the Western Palearctic.
Habitat Tundra, other grasslands and wetlands.
Wild population Average estimate from 2003-2005 counts: 38.500.
Zoo population 473 reported to ISIS (2006)

In the Zoo

Red-breasted goose


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 17 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
BS Thurner Hof

Why do zoos keep this animal

This is a very colourful and attractive species, thus a good ambassador for its increasingly threatened breeding habitat, the arctic tundra. In addition, the species is vulnerable due to various threats, and maintaining a reserve population at zoos makes sense.