Trends in goose numbers wintering in Britain & Ireland, 1995 to 2008


  • Carl Mitchell Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT)
  • Kendrew Colhoun Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
  • Anthony D Fox Department of Wildlife Ecology and Biodiversity, National Environmental Research Institute
  • Larry Griffin WWT Caerlaverock
  • Colette Hall Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT)
  • Richard Hearn Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT)
  • Chas Holt British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)
  • Alyn Walsh National Parks and Wildlife Service



population studies, winter ecology, Anatidae, survey


Twelve migratory and native goose populations winter in Britain and Ireland and up to date information on their abundance and distribution is provided. Seven populations are increasing: Barnacle Goose (Svalbard, current estimate 26,900 birds), Barnacle Goose (Greenland 70,500), Pink-footed Goose (288,800), North West Scotland Greylag Goose (34,500), re-established Greylag Goose (50,000), Light-bellied Brent Goose (East Canadian High Arctic 34,000) and Light-bellied Brent Goose (Svalbard 3,270). Two populations appear stable: Taiga Bean Goose (432 at two sites) and Icelandic Greylag Goose (98,300). Three populations are decreasing: European White-fronted Goose (2,760) due to short stopping in mainland Europe, Dark-bellied Brent Goose (82,970), due to a recent population decline (due to poor breeding success) and short stopping, and Greenland White-fronted Goose (24,055) due to recent poor breeding success and, up to 2006, hunting. An estimated 120,000 migratory geese wintered in Britain and Ireland in 1960 compared to 500,000 in 2008. Despite many goose species demonstrating high degrees of site faithfulness (responding to safe roosts and regular food supply), shifts in winter distribution of several goose populations have occurred (notably Icelandic Greylag Goose).


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How to Cite

Mitchell, C., Colhoun, K., Fox, A. D., Griffin, L., Hall, C., Hearn, R., … Walsh, A. (2010). Trends in goose numbers wintering in Britain & Ireland, 1995 to 2008. Ornis Svecica, 20(3–4), 128–143.

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