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RED-BREASTED GOOSE (Branta ruficollis)


Study Site: Moscow Zoo and Volokolamsk breeding centre of Moscow Zoo (Moscow prov., Russia).
Participants: Volodin Ilya, Volodina Elena, Klenova Anna.
Collaborators: Smetanin Innokentij (Moscow Zoo).
Popular papers: <Science & Life>.


The red-breasted geese of both sexes, especially males, often produce loud two-syllable calls. In nature, they use them for mobbing Arctic foxes, dogs and humans in nature while in captivity, especially during the breeding season in spring, often call toward other males.Therefore, these calls of red-breasted geese could be easily recorded in the wild without disturbance of birds, and small colony sizes allow reliable distinguishing of the caller’s personality. For the red-breasted geese, individual acoustic-based monitoring can answer the following questions: whether birds occupy their previous nests, maintain pair bonds through years, and whether young birds return to their “parental” colonies or disperse on new breeding grounds. The only way to develop a method for individual acoustic-based identification is to collect call recordings from the same individuals from year to year. As a rule, it is possible only with birds kept in captivity or in semi-captive conditions. This was the reason why our research was carried out on the group of red-breasted geese kept for a few years in the Moscow Zoo. Our purpose were to compare the potentials of the two-syllable calls to encode sex and identity and to examine reliability of discrimination individuals by their calls, recorded in previous years, in subsequent breeding season. In other words, we examined a possibility to use the two-syllable calls of red-breasted geese as a tool for acoustic fingerprinting, between years. Our data suggest that individual features of male two-syllable calls remained stable over years.


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  • Volodin I.A., Klenova A.V., Volodina E.V. Modelling bioacoustical monitoring through years with captive population of the red-breasted goose // Cazarca (Bulletin of Goose, Swan and Duck Study Group of Northern Eurasia), Moscow, 2008, Iss. 11, N 1, p. 22-46.(available in Russian). 157.pdf
  • Volodin I.A., Volodina E.V. The problem of adaptation to new climate conditions for breeding the red-breasted goose (Rufibrenta ruficollis) in captivity // Casarca (Bulletin of Goose, Swan and Duck Study Group of Northern Eurasia), 2001, Iss. 7, p. 297-306. (available in Russian). 124.pdf
  • Volodin I.A. Body weight of red-breasted geese in captivity: seasonal dynamics, air temperature, light regimes and social factors influences // Bulletin of Moscow Society of Nature Explorers, Dept. of Biology, 1992, v. 97, N 6, p. 29-42. (available in Russian) . 106.pdf
  • Volodin I.A. Factors influencing on captive breeding of red-breasted geese // “Scientific researches in Zoos”, Iss. 1, Moscow, 1991, p. 87-98. (available in Russian). 104b.pdf
  • Volodin I.A. Synchronization of acoustical activity in red-breasted geese (Branta ruficollis) groups // “Scientific researches in Zoos”, Iss. 1, Moscow, 1991, p. 51-55. (available in Russian).
  • Volodin I.A. Ethogram of the red-breasted goose Rufibrenta ruficollis (Anserini, Anseriformes). 1. Movemental behaviour // Zoologicheskii Zhurnal, 1990, v. 69, N 9, p. 57-66. (available in Russian). 104.pdf
  • Volodin I.A. Ethogram of the red-breasted goose Rufibrenta ruficollis. 2. Acoustic behaviour // Zoologicheskii Zhurnal, 1990, v. 69, N 10, p. 98-106. (available in Russian). 103.pdf
  • Volodin I.A. Establishments and maintenance of social relations in captive red-breasted geese groups // Bulletin of Moscow Society of Naturalists, Biological Series, 1990, v. 95, N 3, p. 42-50. (available in Russian). 102.pdf