BRANT

BRANT(Branta bernicla) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Brant (or Brent Goose) plumage of the head, neck, breast and tail is 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 ends with a small hook. The legs are dark grey. The wings are large for the bird’s size, which allows them a strong flight. While in flight the black tail shows a large white ‘U’ shape. Sexes are similar. It is a small goose at about 60 cm (25 inches) long.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Branta-bernicla
NAME: The English name derives from Old Norse and means ‘black or burnt goose’, because of its dark plumage. The Latin species name ‘bernicla’ means ‘barnacle’, because this species was once thought to be the same as the Barnacle Goose.
HABITAT: Coastal tundra in the summer; wet meadows, fresh lakes, coast lines or deltas in the winter.
DIET: The brant 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.
NESTING: 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. Around five creamy eggs are laid, incubated by the female. Both parents care for the goslings.
DISTRIBUTION: The brant breeds in the Arctic around the globe, and winters along the coasts in North America, Europe and Asia. Some vagrants will spend the winter on Hawaii. (See note below on bird vagrancy.)
DISTRIBUTION MAP: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brant_(goose)#/media/File:Brant_Goose_Range.png
ON PEI: Although not breeding on Prince Edward Island, the brant’s presence varies according to the seasons – common in spring, rare in summer, uncommon in the fall, and occasional in the winter.
CONSERVATION: Brants are not currently listed as a species of concern.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Canada Goose, Cackling Goose, Barnacle Goose
REFERENCES: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brant/id
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brant_(goose)
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/brant
https://www.borealbirds.org/bird/brant
http://www.oiseaux-birds.com/card-brent-goose.html
http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/brant.htm (New Hampshire PBS)
http://www.npolar.no/en/species/brent-goose.html (Norwegian Polar Institute)

Brant - May 23, 2008 - Andreas Trepte
Brant – May 23, 2008 – Andreas Trepte
Brant goslings - July 9, 2001 - Clarence Rhode, US FWS AK
Brant goslings – July 9, 2001 – Clarence Rhode, US FWS AK
Brant - Morro Bay, Calif. - Jan. 6, 2015 - Alan Schmierer
Brant – Morro Bay, Calif. – Jan. 6, 2015 – Alan Schmierer
Brant in defensive position - Sept. 20, 2005 - Tim Bowman, US FWS
Brant in defensive position – Sept. 20, 2005 – Tim Bowman, US FWS
Brant geese wintering at the Wadden Sea, Germany - Nov. 1, 2009 - Henrike Muhlichen
Brant geese wintering at the Wadden Sea, Germany – Nov. 1, 2009 – Henrike Muhlichen

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