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Barnacle Goose

Branta leucopsis

Geese Family

Waterfowl Identification

Barnacle Goose

Similar Waterfowl:
None
Description:
Barnacle geese have a black chest, neck, and crown, with a cream-white face. The sexes are similar in appearance, but males typically are larger. The extension of black from the neck over the head gives the face a hooded appearance. The upper back is black, shading posterior to silver-gray. The breast, sides, and flanks are a pale gray and the belly, undertail coverts, and rump are white, contrasting markedly with the large black tail. The bill, legs, and feet are black.
Typical Size:
The male and female average 25 inches in length and 4 pounds in weight. Their wingspan can reach 52 inches.
Habitat:
The barnacle goose prefer salt marshes, grasslands near river estuaries, or tidal mud flats.
Breeding:
Barnacle geese breed along the northeast coast of Greenland, Svalbard, Norway, and Novaya Zemlya, and adjacent Vaygach Island, Russia. There are no breeding records of barnacle geese in North America. Barnacle geese nest in small colonies among rocky crags or on cliffs and islands and lay an average of 4 to 6 eggs.
Diet:
Barnacle geese feed on grasses and coastal plants.
Migration:
The Greenland population of barnacle geese winter in Ireland and the Inner and Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The Svalbard population largely winters in the Solway Firth between England and Scotland and the Russian population winters in the Netherlands and Germany. In North America, infrequent appearances by barnacle geese have been restricted to the east, including, Labrador, Ontario, Quebec, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, Ohio, and Michigan.
Flyway Patterns:
The barnacle goose has limited sightings in the northern areas of the Atlantic flyway.
Flight Formation:
Small compact flocks in an irregular formation. Short rapid wing beats, reaching speeds of 70 MPH.
Voice:
Both males and females have a series of shrill yelps.