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L 54-60cm. WS 110-125cm
Breeds on the Taymyr Peninsula and migrates to the south-west to winter on the northern and western shores of the Black Sea. The main wintering grounds were formerly around the Aral and Caspian Seas and in Iraq but numbers in these areas are now very low. Most now winter in the Dobrogea region of Romania with smaller numbers in north Bulgaria and Hungary and sometimes in north-east Greece and Turkey.
Recorded fairly frequently in the Netherlands, usually with migrating Barnacle Geese and also seen less regularly in Sweden, Finland and Britain. British records (c. 70) mainly in the east and south from October to March.
Recorded throughout Europe as a vagrant west to Spain but this species is widely kept in captivity and some records undoubtedly refer to escapes. Arrive on wintering grounds in November and some begin to leave as early as March.
Despite a general decline in population during the 20th century, numbers of birds seen as vagrants in Western Europe appear to be increasing. In 2001 birds of uncertain origin were recorded in Malta and Israel.
They are now "vulnerable".
Breeds on the tundra in small colonies on low cliffs or rocky outcrops, usually near water and close to nest of large raptor or gull.
On passage and in winter on open steppe, pastures and crop fields usually near large shallow waters but often in fairly arid areas.
Up to 9 creamy-white eggs are laid and which are incubated for 25 days. They nest in small colonies, usually near to the site of Peregrine Falcon nests for protection.
Their diet includes grasses, leaves and seeds.
A shrill ki-kwi or kik-wik
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