Goosanders occur throughout much of the northern hemisphere. In Europe they breed in Iceland, Great Britain, around the Baltic and throughout Fenno-Scandia and northern Russia. There are isolated pockets south to the Alps, the Balkans and in Ukraine, and Bird Atlas 2007-2011 recorded two confirmed breeding records in Ireland.
    The first British breeding record  dates from 1871 in the Scottish Highlands and the British population remained confined mostly to Scotland until the 1940s, with only occasional winter visitors recorded in England. Thereafter they gradually expanded their breeding range southwards into the central and south Pennines, Wales and the Welsh Marches, then into Devon in 1980, Somerset in 1993 and Hampshire in 1998. The 1988-91 Atlas estimated a British breeding population of 2700 pairs.
    The first breeding season record in Wiltshire occurred in June 2000 though there was no evidence of breeding. Thereafter there were no further records until May 2014 when a female with a newly-hatched brood was seen at a confidential site.


The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.