France as a staging and wintering area for Greylag Geese Anser anser

Leif Nilsson, Arne Follestad, Matthieu Guillemain, Vincent Schricke, Berend Voslamber


France is traditionally a staging area for Greylag Geese Anser anser migrating from
northwest Europe to wintering sites in Spain, though increasing numbers have
wintered in France over the last three decades. This paper considers sightings within
France of neck-banded individuals marked elsewhere in Europe since the 1980s, to
determine the origin of Greylag Geese staging and now wintering in the country. The
geese included in this study were all caught in summer during the annual moult, either
as family groups or in non-breeding flocks. Most sightings of neck-banded geese
were from western France, and most birds identified were from breeding areas in the
Nordic countries or to a lesser extent in the Netherlands. The Lac du Der area in
northeast France was found to be a wintering area for an introduced population of
Greylags established southwest of Stockholm in Sweden, and the geese wintering on
the Camargue in southern France were recruited mainly from central Europe.
Numbers wintering in France have increased in line with the general increase in the
European Greylag Goose population, whereas numbers on passage in France have
not increased in the same way, possibly due to a northward shift in the winter
distribution of Greylags across Europe. The numbers wintering in France are,
however, still small compared to other areas along the flyway.

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