Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 154, Issue 3, pp 645–654 | Cite as

Diurnal variation in the behaviour of the Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) during the spring stopover in Trøndelag, Norway

  • Magda ChudzinskaEmail author
  • Jesper Madsen
  • Jacob Nabe-Nielsen
Original Article


During the spring migration, the Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus stops in mid-Norway to refuel before continuing its flight to the Svalbard breeding grounds. While in mid-Norway the geese feed on pasture, stubble and newly sown grain fields. Here, we describe the diurnal variation in goose behaviour at a staging site and assess the extent to which behavioural patterns are attributable to physiological factors (digestibility of the food) and environmental conditions (flock size, type and frequency of disturbance and distance to roost). We found that feeding activity peaked at mid-day, whereas the birds were most alert in the morning and afternoon. The behaviour of Pink-footed Goose also varied with habitat type, disturbance level and distance to roost. The diurnal variation in feeding activity differed from behaviour reported for geese on the wintering grounds, indicating that the birds have different energetic and nutrient demands when at spring staging sites. Seasonal changes in habitat availability as well as density dependence may also affect the birds’ behavioural patterns. A sporadic, unpredictable disturbance reduced the proportion of geese feeding to a greater extent than a predictable, recurrent disturbance, but feeding activity was highest under undisturbed conditions.


Activity patterns Disturbance Foraging behaviour Stopover site 


Veränderungen im Verhalten von Kurzschnabelgänsen ( Anser brachyrhynchus ) im Tagesverlauf während ihrer Frühlingsrast in Trøndelag, Norwegen

Während des Frühjahrszuges rasten Kurzschnabelgänse in Mittelnorwegen, um vor ihrem Weiterflug in die Brutgebiete in Spitzbergen nochmals Nahrung aufzunehmen. In Mittelnorwegen fressen diese Gänse auf Weideland, Stoppelfeldern und frischer Getreidesaat. Diese Untersuchung beschreibt die tageszeitlichen Veränderungen im Verhalten der Gänse an einem Rastplatz und beurteilt, inwieweit Verhaltensmuster mit physiologischen Faktoren (Verdaubarkeit des Futters) und Umweltbedingungen (Gruppengröße, Art und Häufigkeit von Störungen und Entfernung vom Schlafplatz) in Verbindung gebracht werden können. Die Futteraufnahme hatte ihren Höhepunkt um Mittag, während die Vögel am Morgen und Nachmittag am wachsamsten waren. Das Verhalten der Kurzschnabelgänse unterschied sich auch in Abhängigkeit von Habitat, Ausmaß von Störungen und der Entfernung vom Schlafplatz. Die tageszeitlichen Veränderungen in der Nahrungsaufnahme unterschieden sich von denen, die über Gänse im Winterquartier berichtet wurden, was darauf hindeutet, dass die Vögel während ihrer Frühjahrsrast unterschiedliche energetische und Nährstoff-Anforderungen haben. Auch saisonale Veränderungen in der Habitatverfügbarkeit und Dichteabhängigkeit könnten die Verhaltensmuster der Vögel beeinflussen. Sporadische, unvorhersehbare Störungen verringerten den Anteil an fressenden Gänsen in stärkerem Maße als vorhersagbare, wiederkehrende Störungen, aber die Fraßaktivität war am höchsten unter ungestörten Bedingungen.



This study was part of M.C.’s PhD project funded by Aarhus University. The fieldwork was supported by the Norwegian Research Council project MIGRAPOP. We would like to thank Per Ivar Nicolaisen and Flemming Hansen for help during the data collection. We also thank Eileen Rees and an anonymous reviewer for valuable comments on the manuscript. All field methods used in this study comply with the current laws of the country in which they were performed.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Magda Chudzinska
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jesper Madsen
    • 2
  • Jacob Nabe-Nielsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BioscienceAarhus UniversityRoskildeDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Bioscience, Arctic Research CentreAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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