BRANT – (Branta bernicla)
The Brant (or Brent Goose) is a small goose belonging to the same family as the Canada Goose. It measures 60 cm (25 in.) long. The head, neck, breast and tail are black, and the back, wings and under parts are brown. The rump is white. There is a small white mark on each side of the neck in the middle. The bill is black and the legs are dark grey. The wings are large for the bird’s size, which allows them a strong flight. Sexes are similar, but chicks are
This goose species’ name derives from Old Norse and means ‘black or burnt goose’, and ‘bernicla’ is old Latin for ‘barnacle’, because this species was once thought to be the same species as the Barnacle Goose.
The brant’s diet is mainly vegetarian, with eelgrass their main source. After a crash in this plant in some areas, brants have adapted by diversifying their diet and now eat sea lettuce and other plants, as well as some fish eggs or worms. When on land, they graze on vegetation.
Brants nest in colonies and build their nest on an elevation on the water, such as a beaver lodge or a small island. They mate for life, and are very protective of their nest and will defend it aggressively.
Although not breeding on PEI, the brant’s presence on the island varies according to the seasons – common in spring, rare in summer, uncommon in the fall, and occasional in the winter. It breeds in the Arctic in wet meadows or in deltas around the globe, and winters along the coasts in North America, Europe and Asia. Brants are not currently listed as a species of concern.