Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Red-breasted Goose

Branta ruficollis

Sometimes thought of as the one of the most attractive species of geese, the red-breasted goose is an unmistakable red, black and white goose, often found in Arctic Russia and small portions of Europe. With many threats and diminishing habitats, the red-breasted goose also is the most threatened goose species on the IUCN Red List.

Range & Habitat

The red-breasted goose can be found in many habitats, including Grasslands, Wetlands, Marine Coastal/Supratidal and Artificial/Terrestrial.

They breed in Arctic Russia (European, Central Asian and Eastern Asian Russia), and spend the winters in only a few sites along the Black Sea (Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine.)

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

This migratory bird's population has been declining dramatically, and there are believed to be only 40,000 remaining in the wild. They face many threats including oil/gas drilling, climate change, hunting/trapping, human intrusions/disturbance and animal predators. There are many conservation acts in place, such as research and monitoring, land/water protection, species management and education and awareness programs.


In the Wild: small fish, crabs, aquatic plants, grasses and grain.

At the Zoo: waterfowl grain mix, greens, insects.

Life Span

In the Wild: about 15 years
In Human Care: 25 years

Fun Facts about the Red-breasted Goose

  •  In the wild, red-breasted geese migrate almost 3,700 miles (6,000 km) to their winter habitats along the Black Sea.
  •  These geese tend to stick together, but can be territorial toward other birds. When threatened, they will raise their feathers while standing tall and hiss and squawk at other birds.
  •  Their call is a jerky “kik-yoik, kik-yik” sound.
  •  Conservation modelling suggests that 67% of the habitat for this species could be lost by the year 2070.



BirdLife International. 2017. Branta ruficollis (amended version of 2017 assessment). The IUCN

Red List of Threatened Species 2017:


3.RLTS.T22679954A118577901.enDownloaded on 05 February 2021.

Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds: Red-breasted Goose worksheet.

Updated February 27, 2021