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Migration routes and stepping stones along the western flyway of Lesser White-fronted Geese (Anser erythropus)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 January 2023

Helmut Kruckenberg*
Institute for Wetlands and Waterbird Research e.V. (IWWR), Am Steigbügel 3, D-27283 Verden (Aller), Germany
Sander Moonen
Institute for Wetlands and Waterbird Research e.V. (IWWR), Am Steigbügel 3, D-27283 Verden (Aller), Germany Wageningen Environmental Research (WEnR), Droevendaalsesteeg 3a, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands Institute of Avian Research (IfV), An der Vogelwarte 21, 26386 Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Andrea Kölzsch
Institute for Wetlands and Waterbird Research e.V. (IWWR), Am Steigbügel 3, D-27283 Verden (Aller), Germany Department of Migration, Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour, 78315 Radolfzell, Germany Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, 78464 Konstanz, Germany
Niklas Liljebäck
Grimsö Wildlife Research Station, Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
Gerhard J. D. M. Müskens
Institute for Wetlands and Waterbird Research e.V. (IWWR), Am Steigbügel 3, D-27283 Verden (Aller), Germany Wageningen Environmental Research (WEnR), Droevendaalsesteeg 3a, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands Müskens Fauna, van Nispenstraat 4, NL-6561 BG, The Netherlands
*Author for correspondence: Helmut Kruckenberg, Email:


In 2015 and 2016 four Lesser White-fronted Geese (Anser erythropus), a globally threatened species, were caught and tagged during spring migration representing nearly 10% of the entire Swedish breeding population at the time. Two of the birds were followed over more than one season. Tracking data revealed an unexpected wide network of migration corridors and staging sites. Autumn and spring migration differed by stepping-stone sites and migration speed. So far unknown key stopover sites were discovered in Denmark, northern Germany, and Sweden. By using dynamic Brownian bridge movement models, the potential areas that Lesser White-fronted Geese used during migration are described and conservation implications spotlighted. This study provides another important piece of the puzzle describing the migration of Lesser White-fronted Geese in Western Europe.

Research Article
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of BirdLife International

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