Numbers and distribution of wild geese in the Netherlands, 1974-1979

Jan Rooth, Barwolt Ebbinge, Anton van Haperen, Martin Lok, Arend Timmerman, Jules Philippona, Leo van den Bergh


A flat, low-lying coastal country with generally mild winter conditions, the Netherlands is ideal 'goose-country'. Six species of geese, totalling about 400,000 birds, regularly visit it. The Greylag Goose Anser anser breeds in small numbers, though it is most abundant in the autumn. The other five species are typically arctic-breeding geese, the Dark-bellied Brent Goose Branta bernicla bernicla and the Barnacle Goose B. leucopsis, the Pink-footed Goose A. brachyrhynchus, the European White-fronted Goose A. albifrons albifrons and the two races of Bean Goose A. fabalis fabalis and A. f. rossicus. Peak numbers occurring during a five-winter period from 1974 to 1979, including four mild and one cold winter are listed. Each species has its own characteristic phenology. Except for the Pink-footed Goose all other species have shown a marked increase in numbers during the last decade. This general increase in numbers is mainly caused by restrictions on hunting, coming into force since 1970.

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