- ORDER: Anseriformes
- FAMILY: Anatidae
The compact, rather short-necked Brant is an attractive small goose with a black head, white necklace, and rich brown body brightening to white under the tail. They winter in flocks in bays, estuaries, and lagoons, where they eat eelgrass and other aquatic vegetation. They nest in the Arctic in wetlands thick with grasses and sedges. Flocks give pleasing calls reminiscent of Sandhill Cranes, and the sounds carry for long distances. In recent decades, some Brant have begun to use upland fields, grazing on grass much as Canada Geese do.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Look for Brant in winter in saltmarsh lagoon systems, bays, and sounds. They feed most heavily at lower and falling tides, when eelgrass beds are within reach. In some places, Brant have become regular visitors to golf courses and parks where hunting is not permitted. In such places they may tolerate fairly close approach; otherwise they are quite skittish. Bring or borrow a spotting scope to get the best views of their beautiful plumages.
- Barnacla Carinegra (Spanish)
- Bernache cravant (French)
- Cool Facts
- The severe winter of 1976–1977 in eastern North America froze Atlantic Brant out of their traditional marsh and lagoon habitats for several months. Some Brant compensated by moving inland from estuaries onto farm fields, lawns, and golf courses, to feed on grasses not normally part of their diet. This behavior is still seen some 40 years later, as eastern Brant still forage inland from New York to Virginia.
- All adult Brant have white markings on the neck, most pronounced in the "Black" Brant and least developed in the "Atlantic" Brant, though individuals show variation in the size of this necklace in all populations. A Canadian study found that individuals tended to pair with others that had similar amounts of white in the necklace.
- Brant also occur in western Europe, where they are often called Brent Geese.
- The oldest recorded Brant was a female, and was over 27 years, 6 months old. It had been banded in Alaska and was found in Washington.