Assessing body condition and energy budget components by scoring abdominal profiles in free-ranging pink-footed geese Anser brachyrhynchus


  • Jesper Madsen,

  • Marcel Klaassen

Jesper Madsen (correspondence), Department of Arctic Environment, National Environmental Research Institute, PO Box 358, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark. Email: M. Klaassen, Centre for Limnology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology, PO Box 1299, 3600 BG Maarssen, The Netherlands.


An abdominal profile index (API) was developed for pink-footed geese Anser brachyrhynchus as a measure of body condition. On basis of carcass analysis of 56 adult geese with known API prior to collection, we found significant linear relationships between API against body mass, abdominal fat and total energy content. Hence, changes in API reflect net energy intake rates. As an example of the applicability of the calibration, we compared APIs of individually marked geese before and after long migration episodes and estimated the cost of flight at 8.9 kJ/km. In addition we estimated gain rates at three major staging sites along the spring flyway indicating an increase in fueling rates with latitude. Calibration of APIs and energy contents offers new opportunities for field studies of waterfowl energetics.