Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 155, Issue 4, pp 951–958 | Cite as

Effects of neckbands on body condition of migratory geese

  • Kevin Kuhlmann Clausen
  • Jesper Madsen
Original Article


Ringing and marking are widely used techniques in avian ecology to assist studies of migration, survival and behaviour, and often used to estimate population sizes. Only rarely, however, have the effects of these markings on bird viability been thoroughly tested. Using an abdominal profile index of marked geese and body mass of recaptured birds previously marked, this study investigated the effect of neckbands on body condition of Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhynchus at different temporal scales, and evaluated to what extent capture, handling and banding affected these birds on short, medium and longer terms. Our results indicated that body condition of geese were negatively affected in the days immediately succeeding capture, but that only a minor effect persisted on a seasonal scale. We found no support for a long-term effect of neckbands on the body mass of individual birds, indicating that the capture and handling event might be the main contributory cause to the transitory decline in body condition. Pink-footed Geese thus seemed to habituate almost completely to the presence of neckbands, and the effects on long-term body condition can be expected to be minor. However, neckbands might still influence important life-history traits such as reproduction and survival by means of, e.g., altering social interactions, increasing predation or interfering with mate acquisition.


Ringing Abdominal profile Capture–mark–recapture Neck collars Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus 


Der Einfluss von Halsringen auf die Körperkondition ziehender Gänse

In der Ökologie der Vögel sind Beringung und Markierung vielfach genutzte Techniken bei der Erforschung des Vogelzuges sowie von Überlebensraten und Verhaltensweisen; außerdem werden sie oft zur Schätzung von Populationsgrößen eingesetzt. Trotzdem wird der Einfluss dieser Markierungen auf die Überlebensfähigkeit der Vögel nur selten sorgfältig überprüft. Mittels eines Abdominalprofil-Index markierter Gänse in Verbindung mit Körpermassedaten von zu einem früheren Zeitpunkt beringten Wiederfängen untersuchten wir in dieser Studie den Einfluss von Halsringen auf die Körperkondition von Kurzschnabelgänsen Anser brachyrhynchus über verschiedene Zeiträume und ermittelten, in welchem Ausmaß Fang, Bearbeitung und Beringung die Vögel kurz-, mittel- und langfristig beeinträchtigten. Unsere Ergebnisse weisen darauf hin, dass die Körperkondition der Gänse in den direkt auf den Fang folgenden Tagen negativ beeinflusst wurde, allerdings nur geringfügige Effekte die Saison über andauerten. Wir fanden keine Belege für einen Langzeiteffekt der Halsringe auf die Körpermasse einzelner Vögel, was dafür spricht, dass das Fang- und Bearbeitungsereignis die Hauptursache für die vorübergehende Abnahme der Körperkondition darstellen könnte. Kurzschnabelgänse scheinen sich somit fast vollständig an das Vorhandensein der Halsringe zu gewöhnen, und die langfristigen Auswirkungen auf die Körperkondition sind als gering anzunehmen. Allerdings könnten Halsringe dennoch wichtige biologische Größen wie zum Beispiel Reproduktion und Überlebensrate beeinflussen, indem sie beispielsweise soziale Interaktionen verändern, das Prädationsrisiko erhöhen oder in die Partnerwahl eingreifen.



We are greatly indebted to all the people assisting in captures of Pink-footed Geese in Denmark and Svalbard, and to the committed team of skilled observers that has been conducting ring readings and API assessments throughout the years.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BioscienceAarhus UniversityRøndeDenmark

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