Branta bernicla (Linnaeus, 1758)
Family: Anseriformes > Anatidae
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.
Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Brent Goose
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.
|UK winter population||-4% decrease (1995/96 to 2020/21)|
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
|No. occupied in winter||617|
|% occupied in winter||20|
European Distribution Map
|% change in range in winter (1981–84 to 2007–11)||+69.3%|
Brent Goose are common winter visitors to coastal areas, arriving through September. Most birds depart in April but some flocks can remain into May.
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.
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
|Maximum Age from Ringing||28 years 2 months 12 days (set in 2001)|
|Typical Lifespan||11 years with breeding typically at 2 year|
|Wing Length||Adults||338.2±11.4 | Range 318–350mm, N=22|
|Body Weight||Adults||1.25±0.19 | Range 0.800–1.51kg, N=34|
Feather measurements and photos on featherbase
|Field Codes||2-letter: BG | 5-letter code: BREGO | Euring: 1680|
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