Rufibrenta ruficollis Pallas, 1769

Ruflbrenta ruficollis imageSynonyms: Rufibrenta ruficollis Bonaparte, 1856; Anser ruficollis Pallas, 1769, Anas torquata Gmelin, 1774; Anas pulchricollis George, 1775

Common names: Engl: Red-breasted goose; Bulg: Chervenogusha guska; Rom: Gisca cu git rosu; Russ: Krasnozobaya kazarka; Turk: Kirmizi gerdanli kaz; Ukr: Chornovola kazarka



Taxonomic descriptions: Small goose with variegated plumage with red-brown breasts, throat and cheecks. Legs, beak, belly, back, wings, nape and crown of the head - black. The base of the beak, around cheek strip, cross breast band, flanks, under tailed coverts and rump - white.

Ruflbrenta ruficollis arealIUCN Status:
    World level: VU
    Black Sea Regional level: EN
    Subregion level: NE

Distribution: The Red-breasted Goose is a Russian endemic and nests in the north of West and Central Siberia. Its breeding areas include the tundra and the leso-tundra of the peninsulas Yamal, Gludan and Taymyr. To the east of Taimir it nests only around the Popugay river (Krivenko, 1983). Till 1967 the main wintering areas were along the southwest and south coast of the Caspian Sea. After that as a result of worsening conditions in the area birds, moved to winter in the Black Sea region, mostly in the Bulgarian and Romanian parts of Dobrudja (Isakov, 1979). Before reaching their Balkan wintering places Ruflbrenta ruficollis fly over the North Prichernomorie (Lusenko, 1991). Along the south Bulgarian coast the flocks are up to 100-200 specimens. Very seldom single specimens and small flocks are recorded along the seashore of Turkey (The OST Bird Report, 1975). In autumn the first Ruflbrenta ruficollis arrive along the Black Sea coast at the end of September - the beginning of October. Migration peaks in November and the beginning of December. They leave the wintering areas in March and fly towards their nesting places.

Habitats type, Critical habitats, Limiting factors: The nesting areas are part of the tundra and the leso-tundra, rich in basins and islands and on high river banks. During migrations and wintering farming lands (sown with grain crops) and wet meadows near safety basins.

Biology: It nests in stocks of 3-20 pairs, near the nests of the Ruff-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus), Peregrine (Falco peregrinus) or Gulls. In June the female lays 4-10 eggs, which it broods for 26 days. Autumn migration starts at the end of August and the beginning of September. Birds rapidly cover the distance between the nesting and wintering areas, as they rest only a few times. They feed on the vegetation parts, roots and seeds of different plant species. The main food in the wintering areas along the Black Sea are the green parts of barley and wheat, and also scattered seeds on the field (from the previous crop) of maize, rice and other grain crops.

Population trends: In the last century the population of the Ruflbrenta ruficollise was estimated as "many dozens thousands specimens" (Krivenko, 1983). In 1956 60,000 specimens wintered in Azerbaijan (Cramp S., K. Simmons, 1977). Around 1960 the population began decline considerably, possibly in connection with the bad conditions for wintering in the Caspian Sea. After the removal of the wintering areas in the Black Sea region, the number of the breeding population increased and in 1979 reached 27,000 specimens (Vinokurov, 1982). During migrations and wintering concentrations are formed on the lower courses of the river Kuban - up to 3,350 specimens, on Veselovski dam - up to 4,600 specimens, on the Molochnii and Utljukskii firths (up to 1,500-2,000 specimens), in East Sivash (up to 4,000 specimens) and over Dunajskic plavni reserve fly up to 9,000 specimens (Sabinevskii B., T. Adamatskaia, 1984, Kazakov B. et al, 1988, Lusenko, 1991). In December 1968 in Romanian Dobrudja (in the region Istria) for the first time a large number stopped (25,000 specimens), i.e. half of the species' population (Puscariu, 1983). For comparison then only 1,000-2,000 specimens were wintering in Azerbaijan (Cramp S., K, Simmons (eds.), 1977). Later the number of the Red-breasted Geese wintering in Dobrudja increased and reached a maximum of 68,000 during January 1992: 26,000 specimens in Romanian Dobrudja and 42,000 specimens in Bulgarian Dobrudja (a private letter form the Belgium ornithologist Didier Vangerluwe) and 75,000 specimens in January 1993 (Black J., J.Madsen, 1993). This shows that with small exceptions the whole population of Ruflbrenta ruficollis winters along the Black Sea coast.

Threats: Destruction of habitat and death of birds in the nesting areas during migrations and in the wintering places. The decline of the Lemmings (genus Lemmus) and the Peregrine in the tundra indirectly caused a limiting influence on its breeding success. The biggest danger in its wintering areas along the Black Sea is the sprinkling of the crops with palearctic and poaching, especially the shooting of birds during so called "shooting tourism" and in night hunts of geese in places with concentrations of birds.

Conservation measures taken: A world threatened species, included in Application 11 of the Washington Convention, forbidding the trade with wild animal and plant species, threatened with extinction. It is protected by laws for protection of nature in all countries included in its habitat. It is listed in the Red Books of Russia, Kazakstan and Bulgaria. Its wintering places in Bulgaria and Romania are protected territories. Some nesting areas and places along its migratory route are also protected (Krivenko, 1983).

Conservation measures proposed: The establishment of a network of protected territories in its nesting and wintering areas and in the main concentrations along the migratory route. The enlargement of the existing protected territories. The prohibition of goose hunting in places concentrations. Allowing hunting only during the day and of specimens, which are clearly not protected by law, White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons). Natural protective propaganda as a means of mass information and natural education of hunters. The prohibition of hunting tourism in wintering places with concentrations of geese.


  1. Black J. J. Madsen, 1993. Excellent news for the Red-breasted Goose "JWKB Threatened Waterfowl Res. Group Newsletter", 4:16-17.
  2. Isakov J., 1979. Migratsii krasnozoboi kazarki - Rufibrenta ruficollis. "Migratsii ptits Vost. Evropy i Sev. Azii. Aistoobraznue - plastinchatokliuvue", Moscow 203-209.
  3. Kazakov B., N. Loinadze, V. Goncharov, V. Petrenko, N, Kavernichenko, 1988. Krasnozobaia kazarka na Veselovskom vodohranilishte. "Resursi jivotnogo mira Severnogo Kavkaza", Stavropol: 73-75.
  4. Krivenko V , 1983. Krasnazobaia kazarka - Rufibrenta ruficollis (Pallas, 1769). "Krasnaia kniga RSFSR, jivotnie". "Rosselhozizdat" Moscow 177-1 80
  5. Lusenko V., 1991, Fauna Ukrainy. Tom 5. Ptitsy, vup. 3. Guseobraznue "Naukova dumka", Kiew: 1-201.
  6. Puscariu V. 1983. La presence de Branta ruficollis pendant I'hiver en Roumanie. "Aquila", 90: 23-27.
  7. Sabinevskii B., T. Ardamatskaia, 1984. Obzor izmenenia sostoiania zimovok vodoplavashtih ptits v Azovo-Chernomorskom regione po materialam yanvarskikh utshetov 1975-1984g, "Sovremennoe sostoianie resursov vodoplavashtih ptic", "Nauka", Moscow: 75-77.
  8. Vinokurov A. 1982. Present status of the Branta ruficollis population and measures for its conservation. "Aquila", 89: 115-122.
  9. Chervona Knyga Ukrayiny (Red Data Book of Ukraine). Kijiv: Ukrajinska enciklopediya Publ., 1994. p. 312 (in Ukrainian).

Compiled by: P.Gorlov, N.Nankinov