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Range States


Red-breasted Goose occurs regularly in the following 10 countries within the AEWA area: Azerbaijan, BulgariaGreece, Hungary, Moldova, KazakhstanRomania, RussiaTurkey and Ukraine. The so-called "Principle Range States" are Bulgaria,  Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia and Ukraine listed in the AEWA Single Species Action Plan for the Red-breasted Goose and have the major responsibility for the implementation of the Action Plan. Subsequently, these range states are all members of the AEWA Red-breasted Goose International Working Group, charged with coordinating the international implementation of the conservation measures.

In addition during migration or winter period the species occurs as vagrant or irregular visitor in many other countrie on a variable basis, i.e.-  Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Poland and others. Part of those observations could relate to genuine wild birds, but some might also relate to escapes as the species is popular in private aviary collections. In most cases these are single individuals or very small parties of 2-3 birds and do not make significant change in the total numbers.

Short descriptions of the occurence of Red-breasted Geese in each range state are provided below.





Bulgaria has become a major wintering area for the Red-breasted Goose since the shift of its wintering grounds from the Caspian region to the North-West coast of the Black Sea. In the beginning of the 1970s the species became more regular and more numerous visitor, with flocks observed in Shabla Lakes Complex, Lake Durankulak, Lake Srebarna, Burgas Lakes Complex First large concentrations reported in 1979 from Shabla and Durankulak lakes. Towards the second half of 1990s NE Bulgaria was concentrating up to 70-80% of the known global population of the species. In late 1990s and early 2000s the numbers have dropped with

The species occurs on passage and winterring in Bulgaria. The major area of distirbution is the NE Bulgaria in the vicinty of the Durankulak Lake SPA, Shabla lakes http://www.varley.net/online/ complex SPA. In recent years the species started to occur earlier along the Danube River in the area of Svishtov-Belen Lowland SPAq with Lake Srebarna also holding significant numbers till December. Burgas lakes complex also supports large concentrations of up to several thousand birds in different periods of the winter.  However key winter concentration area remains the Shaba and Durankulak lakes with peak count in recent years of 54 000 birds during the IWC in 2013.



Kazakhstan is a key country for the Red-breasted Goose during migration. The whole global population migrates through Northern and North Western Kazakhstan twice per year during spring and autumn migration.

The main area is around the Tobol-Ishim forest-steppe and the watersheds of the Ubagan, Ulkayak and Irgizin rivers. The key sites here are centred on the Kostanai region of Kazakhstan, but also in the North Kazakhstan region. The IBAs that are the major concentrations sites are Koybagar-Tyuntyugur Lake System, Kulykol-Taldykol Lake System.

One of the main threats during migration time in Kazakhstan is the disturbance and illegal killing of Red-breasted Geese. The regular monitoring in autumn provides information for assessing the global population status of the species.


Romania is a key wintering country for the species. The Danube Delta area and Romanian part of Dobrudzha used to support the major part of the global population in winter till mid 1990s whem the species started to shift further south.

The presence of the Red-breasted geese in Romania in large numbers was confirmed in December 1968 when in only one flock about 25,000 geese were counted. In later literature this number had been cited, but most probably the number of the Red-breasted geese in the area at that time was larger. Only the absence of observations in Dobrogea during the winter made it possible for the Red-breasted geese to remain unknown, suggesting that the number of the Red-breasted geese had increased steadily and they did not appear suddenly. Geese were counted during the expedition organised by International Wildfowl Research Bureau (IWRB, now Wetlands International). Subsequent counts were done of 25,000 individuals in 1967-1969. Between 1968 and 1974, the geese were counted in Romania during the IWRB missions with number fluctuating from hundreds to thousands. After a long period of inactivity counts were again carried out in 1988 and 1989 and the number of Red-breasted geese found in the Dobrogea did not exceed 11 500. In December 1990 - January 1991 about 34,000 individuals of Red-breasted geese were counted. In Romania the mean number of the maximum counts between 1991 – 2001 was 34 905 Red-breasted geese.

Until 1964, geese were seen in Romania most frequently along the Danube in the region of Insula Mare a Brailei and Balta Ialomitei. During 1964-1970, most of the lakes from these regions were drained and converted to farmland. Consequently, the number of geese declined in this area and the geese moved to the lakes situated at the coast of the Black Sea. The loss of habitat in Romania has arguably lead to shift of wintering grounds to Bulgaria following 1970s. Key sites in Romania are Iezerul Calarasi, Balta Mica Brailei, Razelm-Sinoe complex, Techirghiol.

The main conservation problems and threats are related to tourist and wind farm development in Dobrudzha area, conflicts with farmers in relation to claimed damages to the winter crops. Hunting disturbance is thought to be serious problem in the Danube Delta area and other parts.


Russian Federation

Russia is the only country where the species is breeding. The Red-breasted geese breed in the tundra of the Taimyr, Gydan and Yamal peninsulas.Up to 70% of the breeding population nests on the Taimyr peninsula. Large areas of this region have been given reserve status, but only c.20% of the known breeding sites lie within these reserves. There is evidence of recent expansion both northwards,eg to thePyasina delta, and eastwards, into Yakutia. It is, however, possible that the expansion may, in part, reflect poor documentation of sites used in the past.

Autumn migration from the breeding grounds is initially southwards along a narrow corridor, only 100–150 km wide, following the River Ob. The first staging area is in the lower reaches of the Ob floodplains, close to the Arctic Circle, in the Yamal-Nenets region. Further south, there is a key staging area on the middle Ob, between Surgut and the River Vakh, in the Khanty-Mansi region, though it is thought likely that birds also use sites along other parts of the Ob valley. Having reached the southern end of the Urals, after crossing North of Kazakhstan, migration heads west, passing just north of the Caspian Sea to the fourth major staging area of the Kuma-Manych depression, in the Rostov, Stavropol and Kalmykia regions of Russia.

In some mild winters some birds remain till January  in Russia, which is a new phenomena from recent decade resulting from prolonged mild weather conditions in November-December, when birds usually reach Northern Black Sea coast.


Ukraine is a key stagging and in mild weather a wintering country for the species. The Red-breasted Goose mainly occurs in the coastal area between the rivers Danube and Dniester. Many birds in mild witers remain in the Crimean peninsula. The species is thought to use the Sea of Azov as astaging area, and flocks of 2,000–3,000 winter on the Ukrainian coast of the Black Sea. In the period 2005-2009 an average of 20 000 birds were registered with peaks in December and February. The most important sites are the Yagorlystski and Tendra Bays. During mild periods birds will short stop in Ukraine for wintering. However vast wetland areas make it difficult to cover regularly the suitable roosting sites.