British Waterfowl Association

Red-breasted Goose

Red-breasted Geese standing on snow
Red-breasted Geese — Ian Gereg
Wild Red-breasted Geese in Bulgaria — AEWA Red-breasted Goose International Working Group

Branta ruficollis

Red-breasted Geese are highly sought after in wildfowl collections and are now becoming more prolific in captivity. They have a beautiful and bold pattern of black, white and chestnut plumage and are the smallest of the northern geese.

During the breeding season Red-breasted Geese can be noisy, uttering a harsh and high pitched tone. Despite this they mix well with other waterfowl within a collection.

Red-breasted Geese are both agile fliers and more terrestrial than most northern geese. They overwinter and breed in a very limited number of sites in south eastern Europe.

3 Red-breasted Geese swimming
Red-breasted Geese — Morag Jones

Given space and areas where the nest can be defended, Red-breasted Geese can do well in a collection.

Ring Size


This size is only a guide. Please read more about ringing here.

Preferring the company of other Red-breasted Geese, they lay clutches of 3-7 eggs with an incubation period of 25 days. In the wild they nest in small colonies, often near Peregrine Falcons, which help to protect them from predators.


Birdguides, 2020. Track migrating Red-breasted Geese

Harteman, J. Harteman Wildfowl Aviaries, Red-breasted Goose