Greater energy stores enable flightless moulting geese to increase resting behaviour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Stephen Portugal
  • JA Green
  • T Piersma
  • G Eichhorn
  • Pat Butler

Colleges, School and Institutes


Many species of waterfowl undergo a post-breeding simultaneous flight feather moult (wing moult) which renders them flightless and vulnerable to predation for up to 4 weeks. Here we present an analysis of the correlations between individual time-budgets and body mass states in 13 captive Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis throughout an entire wing moult. The daily percentage of time spent resting was positively correlated with initial body mass at the start of wing moult. Behaviour of individual birds during wing moult is dependent on initial physiological state, which may in turn be dependent on foraging ability; the storage of energy before the start of wing moult will help birds to reduce exposure to the dangers of predation.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)868-874
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2011


  • anti-predator behaviour, simultaneous wing moult, structural size, storage strategies, Barnacle Geese, body mass loss