Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis
The Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis) is a goose of the genus Branta. It is sometimes separated in Rufibrenta but appears close enough to the Brent Goose (Branta bernicla) to make this unnecessary, despite its distinct appearance.
The Red-breasted Goose breeds in Arctic Europe, often close to nests of large birds of prey, such as Peregrine Falcons. This helps to protect this small goose from predators such as the Arctic Fox. It winters in south eastern Europe. It is a rare vagrant to Great Britain and other western European areas, where it is sometimes found with Brent flocks.
All the species of the Branta genus are distinguished by their dark sooty colour, relieved by white, and as a distinction from the grey geese of the genus Anser. This species is unmistakable, but can be surprisingly difficult to find amongst Brent Geese due to its small size. The red also tends to look black at long distances.
The Red-breasted Goose is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. It was considered a Vulnerable species by the IUCN. Over 80% of the population roost during the winter at just five sites, with nearby feeding areas threatened by changes in land-use. In addition, there has been a strong decline in numbers in the last decades. As it is not clear to what extent the known population fluctuations in this species - as in other Arctic geese - and given the worsening outlook for the species as a whole, the Red-breasted Goose is uplisted from a species of Least Concern to Endangered status in the 2007 IUCN Red List.