Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Brant Branta bernicla


enlarge +

credit:  Andreas Trepte/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

All Images

3 articles:

Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Alternate name: Black Brant

Family: Anatidae, Ducks and Geese view all from this family

Description ADULT Has black head and neck with white "collar," dark gray upperparts, and white vent. Breast and belly are uniformly dark gray in nigricans; dark below, but paler on flanks in bernicla and Gray-bellied; uniformly pale gray in hrota. JUVENILE Similar to respective parents, but white collar is absent until late winter, and back feathers show pale edges.

Dimensions Length: 22-30" (56-76 cm)

Habitat Breeds on tundra, winters in estuaries. Locally common.

Observation Tips Black Brant migrates down Pacific coast; most winter in Baja California, Mexico. Gray-bellied Brant winter in Padilla Bay, Washington.

Range Western Canada, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, Southeast, Eastern Canada, New England, California, Texas, Northwest, Plains, Great Lakes, Alaska

Voice A nasal, honking kruut.

Discussion Small coastal goose. Three subspecies are recognized, separable by belly markings; they have reasonably distinct breeding and wintering grounds: nigricans (Black Brant) breeds in Siberia and northwestern North American Arctic and winters on Pacific coast of North America; hrota (Pale-bellied Brant) breeds in Greenland and eastern North American Arctic, and winters either on our Atlantic coast or in Europe; bernicla (Dark-bellied Brant) breeds in Russian Arctic and winters in Europe. Intermediate "Gray-bellied Brant" breeds in Canada and winters on Washington State coast. All birds feed on marine eelgrass and Sea Lettuce, sometimes also on coastal grassland.