Migration Patterns of Nordic Greylag Geese Anser anser.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Migration patterns of Nordic Greylag Geese Anser anser
were studied by means of neck-collaring. A total of 4173
birds (738 breeders, 1999 goslings and 1436 moulters;
most moulters subsequently identified as belonging to a
specified breeding population) was marked throughout
Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland during 1984–
1994. This report is based on observations made up to 30
June 1995. In general, Norwegian Greylag Geese left their
breeding areas rapidly for staging areas in Denmark and/
or the Netherlands during the period late August – early
September, but the most northerly breeding populations
migrated south much later and not so rapidly. After a long
refuelling period most Norwegian Greylags left the
Netherlands for wintering areas in Spain during November.
The Guadalquivir Marismas in the south-western part of
the country was the main wintering area, but sites in the
Duero Basin in the north-central part gained importance
throughout the study period. Normally, the geese left Spain
in February, for a long stop-over in the Netherlands.
Breeders returned to Vega in Norway in April, but to Troms
and Finnmark not until May. Most Greylags from Scania
and Denmark, all belonging to the West Baltic population,
remained in the breeding area until October, merging into
larger and larger flocks, together with returning moulters
and birds from more northern breeding grounds. The
majority made only a short stop-over in the Netherlands
en-route to their main winter quarter, the Guadalquivir
Marismas, Spain. An increasing proportion wintered in the
Dutch Delta. In general, West Baltic Greylags left their
winter quarters during the first two weeks of February and
migrated rapidly to the breeding grounds. Largely,
Norwegian and West Baltic Greylags used different staging
areas in the Netherlands and non-overlapping feeding
areas in Spain. Outside the Atlantic flyway there is a few
re-sightings from England of Norwegian and Swedish
birds as well as one re-sighting each from Scotland and
Hungary of a Swedish Greylag. Finnish reylags were
found along both the Atlantic flyway, down to the
Guadalquivir Marismas, and the Continental flyway, down
to Tunisia and Algeria. Winter quarters of the two studied
naturalised populations were situated apart from the main
ones; Greylags from the Oslo area wintered in the
Netherlands and the majority from Södermanland at Lac
du Der, east of Paris.


External organisations
  • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
  • Lund University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Zoology
  • Ecology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-58
JournalOrnis Svecica
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch