An unmistakable small, black goose, the Brent Goose is exceptional amongst geese for its strong, efficient flight, which carries it extraordinary distances of several thousand kilometers as it migrates after breeding in the Arctic. Around the size of a mallard, this diminutive goose has a short neck, and a small head and bill borne on a plump body. From a distance it looks all dark apart from the gleaming white under-tail, but is in fact typically grey-brown on the back with a small white neck patch. The male and female brent are similar in appearance, although the male is usually slightly larger and tends to have a broader neck patch. There are currently three recognized subspecies of brent geese, each of which have a black head, bill, breast, tail and legs, but vary primarily in the color of the belly and sides.
Appearance: – This small goose has a black head, neck and upper-breast, with white markings or collar around the neck, short black beak, upper-parts are greyish-brown, tail-coverts and sides of rump are white, under-parts are pale brownish-grey or whitish, flight feathers and short tail are black, and the legs and feet are black. Both sexes are alike with the female being smaller.
Size: – Typical Adult is about 23 inches.
Food: – Eelgrass, seaweed, sea lettuce, also grazes on grasses, and cereals.
Habitat: – Low-lying wet coastal tundra, estuaries, and agricultural land in north Greenland, arctic Russia and Siberia, and arctic Canada. Wintering in UK, coastal USA and Mexico.
Breeding Season: – June.
Eggs: – 3 to 5 (creamy-white color).
Notes: – The Brent Goose or Brant Goose belongs to the Branta genus and has three sub-species: Dark-bellied Brent, Light-bellied (Atlantic) Brent, and the Black Brent (Pacific). Dark-bellied Brents breed in arctic Russia, Light-bellied Brents in Greenland, and Black Brent in Arctic Canada. These birds breed further north than any other goose.