Polar Biology

, Volume 30, Issue 10, pp 1343–1349 | Cite as

Brent goose Branta bernicla bernicla feeding behaviour during incubation, Taïmyr Peninsula, Russia

  • Maud Poisbleau
  • Sébastien Dalloyau
  • Hervé Fritz
  • Charles-André Bost
  • Barwolt S. Ebbinge
Original Paper


Incubating birds must balance the time and the energy invested in incubation with the energy acquisition for their survival. Many factors such as weather and predation influence this trade-off. In Arctic geese, only females incubate, and they leave the nest regularly to feed while males invest in keeping their nests and mates safe. This study conducted on Big Bird Island (Taïmyr Peninsula) during the summer of 2004 examined the incubation behavior of dark-bellied brent geese Branta bernicla bernicla to assess the effect of date, period of day and weather conditions on the incubation and feeding behaviors of females and males. Females were at their nests only for 65% of the total time observed. This very low value, compared to other goose species, could be the result of the combined effects of good weather conditions, low predation pressure and opportunities to feed close to the nest. We found differential adjustments of male and female behaviors. Females appeared to focus on the trade-off between feeding and incubating, in relation to weather conditions, and on their own energy balance. Males appeared to respond primarily by the absence of the female from their nest.


Time Budget Vigilance Behaviour Incubation Behaviour Nest Attendance Brent Goose 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to Janien van der Greft, Raymond Klaassen, Roeland Bom, Doortje Ebbinge-Dallmeijer, Yakov Kokorev, Igor Popov, Igor Travinsky, Yuri Mazourov and Alla Pakina for their logistic help during the mission. We are also grateful to the Director of the Great Arctic Reserve, Valery Chuprov for his permission to work on the reserve. The manuscript benefited from critical comments by Laurent Demongin, Petra Quillfeldt, Mark Roberts, Patrick Duncan, Rolf Gradinger and two anonymous referees. We also highly appreciate the statistical assistance of Loïc Hardouin and Alexandre Millon. The programme was funded by the CNRS and Institut Polaire Français (IPEV, program Bernicla), WWF-Russia, the Dutch Embassy in Moscow, and Centre for Ecosystem Studies at Alterra, Wageningen with the material help from Air France and the Credit Agricole of Poitou-Charente, France.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maud Poisbleau
    • 1
    • 3
  • Sébastien Dalloyau
    • 1
  • Hervé Fritz
    • 1
  • Charles-André Bost
    • 1
  • Barwolt S. Ebbinge
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de ChizéBeauvoir-sur-NiortFrance
  2. 2.AlterraWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Max Planck Institute for OrnithologyVogelwarte RadolfzellRadolfzellGermany

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