Biology Bulletin

, Volume 44, Issue 8, pp 852–859 | Cite as

Brent Geese (Branta bernicla) Breeding Associations with Pomarine Skuas (Stercorarius pomarinus) on the Mainland Tundra

  • S. P. Kharitonov
  • R. H. G. Klaassen
  • D. J. Nowak
  • A. I. Nowak
  • D. V. Osipov
  • O. V. Natalskaya


This article is based on data that were collected in the years 2000−2007, 2012, and 2014 in the vicinities of Medusa Bay (73°21′ N, 80°32′ E) and in 2002 at the mouth of the Uboynaya River (73°37′ N, 82°10′ E), in the northwestern part of the Taimyr Peninsula. In years when the abundance of lemmings is high, brent geese may breed not only near nests of snowy owls and rough-legged buzzards, but also sparsely in the mainland tundra, often without any protection. Some such nests are successfully incubated until hatching. A considerable part of these dispersed nests appears to be associated with a nest or territory of pomarine skuas that are able to scare away the main tundra predator, the arctic fox, to a distance of about 500 m from their nests. Brent geese that breed within this distance to theses nests gain additional protection against arctic foxes. However, brent geese do not display a tendency to place their nests closer to pomarine skua nests. The mean distance from geese nests to pomarine skua nests or centers of their territories comprised 2/3 of the mean distance between nests of pomarine skuas and turned out to be quite stable over the years and in two different tundra areas.


brent goose pomarine skua tundra 


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© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. P. Kharitonov
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. H. G. Klaassen
    • 3
  • D. J. Nowak
    • 4
  • A. I. Nowak
    • 4
  • D. V. Osipov
    • 5
  • O. V. Natalskaya
    • 6
  1. 1.Bird Ringing Center of Russia, Severtsov Institute of Ecology and EvolutionRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Joint Directorate of Taimyr Nature ReservesNorilskRussia
  3. 3.Foundation Working Group International Waterbird and Wetland Research (WIWO)AX ZeistThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Magurski National ParkKrempnaPoland
  5. 5.Zoological MuseumMoscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  6. 6.Forest Protection Center of Ryazan oblastRyazanRussia

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