Barnacle Goose

Colour-mark(s) used:

Blue leg ring, three white characters, and a separate colour ring on other leg

Colour rings currently used: grey, white, yellow, red

letter, number number
and colour ring on other leg

All birds also carry a BTO metal ring, either above or below the colour ring

Report a sighting

Sightings of our ringed Barnacle Geese can now be entered directly to an online database, where you’ll receive instant life histories and a map of movements.

Project summary

Project status
Total colour marked
Total sightings



Three populations of Barnacle geese occur in the UK, two of which are entirely migratory, one originating from Svalbard and the other from Greenland. The third population, the smallest is the naturalised population resident in the UK throughout the year, predominately in England with smaller numbers also occurring in Wales and Scotland. This population is regularly monitored through the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS), and the long-term trend clearly shows a rapid increase in numbers since the 1980s, in particular since the mid-2000s. The population’s size is currently estimated to be 4,400 individuals, which is over 60% higher than the previous estimate of 2,700 when last assessed in 2011.

Despite flocks of birds being found at sites across the UK, and although the population is regularly monitored through WeBS, much still remains unknown about the movements and demography of this naturalised population. The absence of such fundamental information, such as data on movements, survival and mortality has hindered efforts to understand the demographic causes of the observed increased in population size.

To deliver up to date information on the demography of this population, we will be starting colour-marking birds in England in order to collect data on movements, survival and mortality. 

Update on the 2021 season
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