Sharing habitat: Effects of migratory barnacle geese density on meadow breeding waders

S. Moonen* (Corresponding author), Jürgen Ludwig* (Corresponding author), H. Kruckenberg* (Corresponding author), G.J.D.M. Müskens, B.A. Nolet* (Corresponding author), H.P. van der Jeugd* (Corresponding author), Franz Bairlein* (Corresponding author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


1. Following targeted conservation actions most goose populations have increased. The growing goose populations caused an increase in human-wildlife conflicts and have the potential to affect nature values. As meadow birds, including meadow-breeding waders, were declining throughout Western Europe, the possible negative effect of rising numbers of foraging barnacle geese on their breeding success has been questioned.

2. We used GPS-transmitter data to measure the density of foraging barnacle geese during daylight hours. Using dynamic Brownian Bridge Movement Models (dBBMM), we investigated the effect of barnacle goose density on the territory distribution of five wader species, and on nest success of the locally common Northern lapwing. We used model selection methods to identify the importance of barnacle goose density related to other environmental factors.

3. Our results showed an insignificant positive association between barnacle goose density and nest territory density of the Northern lapwing and common redshank. Barnacle goose density had no influence on territory selection of godwit, oystercatcher and ringed plover. We did, however, find a negative correlation between barnacle geese density and the nest success of the Northern Lapwing.

4. We infer that either barnacle goose foraging leads to improved territory conditions for some wader species, or that both barnacle geese and waders prefer the same type of habitat for foraging and nesting. Higher barnacle goose density was correlated with fewer Northern lapwing nests being successful.

5. Synthesis and application: Experimental research is needed to disentangle the causal chain, but based on our observational findings, we suggest to increase water logging that may attract both barnacle geese and wader species. Further investigation on the effects of barnacle geese on wader species is necessary to identify the cause of the negative correlation between barnacle geese density and nest success of lapwings; nest protection experiments could give further insight.
Original languageEnglish
Article number126355
JournalJournal for Nature Conservation
Early online date09 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Sharing habitat: Effects of migratory barnacle geese density on meadow breeding waders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this