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Brant Goose

Branta bernicla

Geese Family

Waterfowl Identification

Brant Goose

Similar Waterfowl:
None
Description:
Brant are small, dark geese that have large wings, which give them their characteristic strong flight. They have short necks, small heads and bills. All subspecies have a black head, bill, breast, primaries, tail and legs. The otherwise black neck has a series of white striations, called a necklace, about the middle. The color of the belly varies according to subspecies and subpopulation. Both sexes are identical in plumage except that the males white necklace is larger than the females.
Typical Size:
The male and female average 24 inches in length and weigh 3 pounds. They have a wingspan of 45 inches.
Habitat:
The brant prefer habitats in low and barren terrain; on islands, deltas, lakes, and sandy areas among puddles and shallows, and in vegetated uplands.
Breeding:
Brant often nest in loose colonies in arctic North America. They breed on the coastal tundra, and will often build nests on small offshore islands, on islands in small ponds or on gravel spits to avoid predation. Parents are bonded for life and both tend to nests and young. Female brant lay an average of 5 eggs.
Diet:
The brant is primarily a grazer and feeds on marsh grasses, grain crops, tundra plants, aquatic plants, and fresh plant growth in fields. They also eat berries, aquatic insects, and their larvae. They also feed on a large diet of eelgrass.
Migration:
In North America, brant winter along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Baja California and mainland Mexico and along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to North Carolina. Since the mid-1960s, more than 80% of the counted winter population from Russia, Japan and North America has occurred in Baja California and other parts of northwest Mexico. Brant winter primarily in marine habitats that are marshy, along lagoons and estuaries, and on shallow bays.
Flyway Patterns:
The brant is most commonly found along the coastal flyways.
Flight Formation:
Small flocks in "V's" or an irregular formation. Short rapid wing beats, reaching speeds of 70 MPH.
Voice:
Both males and females have a guttural HONK.