Brent Goose

Branta bernicla (Linnaeus, 1758) BG BREGO 1680
Family: Anseriformes > Anatidae

Brent Goose, John Harding

Brent Geese are locally numerous winter visitors to Britain & Ireland, found on saltmarshes and adjoining grassy habitats around most of the coast.

Britain & Ireland host individuals from four separate breeding populations. The two Light-bellied Brent Goose populations – from Canada and Svalbard – largely winter on Strangford Lough and Lindisfarne respectively, while the birds wintering elsewhere in Britain come from the Russian Dark-bellied population. A few Black Brants, from Siberia, Alaska or Canada, are recorded most years.

Wintering numbers increased strongly through the 1970s and 1980s, and have fluctuated around this higher level since.


Brent Goose identification is usually straightforward.


Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Brent Goose, provided by xeno-canto contributors.



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Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.




Brent Geese were recorded in winter from almost the entire coastline of Britain & Ireland, except for north and west Scotland. This overall distribution conceals separate patterns for birds from three different breeding populations. The Canadian Light-bellied population winters predominantly in Ireland. Birds from the Svalbard Light-bellied Brent Goose population winter in Denmark and in Britain, where they winter predominantly around Lindisfarne in Northumberland. The bulk of the Brent Geese that winter elsewhere in Britain are from the arctic Russian-breeding Dark-bellied population.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2



Brent Goose are common winter visitors to coastal areas, arriving through September. Most birds depart in April but some flocks can remain into May.

Weekly occurence of Brent Goose from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.

An overview of year-round movements for the whole of Europe can be seen on the EuroBirdPortal viewer.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.

Foreign locations of birds ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland

Foreign locations of Brent Goose ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland
Encountered in: Winter (Nov-Feb); Spring (Mar-Apr); Summer (May-Jul); Autumn (Aug-Oct)


Lifecycle and body size information about Brent Goose, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.



View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report


Feather measurements and photos on featherbase


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Gaelic: Gèadh-got
Welsh: Gwydd Ddu
Catalan: oca de collar
Czech: berneška tmavá
Danish: Knortegås
Dutch: Rotgans
Estonian: mustlagle
Finnish: sepelhanhi
French: Bernache cravant
German: Ringelgans
Hungarian: örvös lúd
Icelandic: Margæs
Irish: Cadhan
Italian: Oca colombaccio
Latvian: melngalvas zoss
Lithuanian: paprastoji bernikle
Norwegian: Ringgås
Polish: bernikla obrozna
Portuguese: ganso-de-faces-pretas
Slovak: bernikla tmavá
Slovenian: grivasta gos
Spanish: Barnacla carinegra
Swedish: prutgås
Folkname: Brant, Quink

Links to more information from

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