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Moult and autumn migration of non-breeding Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Geese Anser erythropus mapped by satellite telemetry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 September 2003

Tomas Aarvak
Norwegian Ornithological Society, Sandgata 30B, N-7012 Trondheim, Norway
Ingar Jostein Øien
Norwegian Ornithological Society, Sandgata 30B, N-7012 Trondheim, Norway
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In this study we demonstrate that non-breeding adult Lesser White-fronted Geese Anser erythropus from the Fennoscandian breeding population may undertake long-distance moult migration eastwards. Of three individuals equipped with satellite transmitters at a spring staging site in northern Norway, two migrated to moulting sites in the area of Kolgujev Island and Kanin Peninsula, while the third headed towards the Taimyr Peninsula, all in northern Russia. The first leg of the moult migration route for non-breeders was between Finnmark, Norway and the Kanin Peninsula area in north-western Russia, a similar route to that taken on autumn migration by Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Geese that had bred successfully. After the moulting period, one of the individuals followed a south-western route to Poland and Germany, where it spent the first part of the winter. The satellite signals from the other two geese ceased abruptly in early autumn, indicating that the birds may have been illegally shot in Russia. Locating new moulting and migration stopover sites is of crucial importance for the conservation of the critically endangered Fennoscandian subpopulation of this species.

Research Article
BirdLife International 2003