Find the best places to hunt Brant Geese in Canada. Discover their Physical Description, Range, Habitat, Food Source, Breeding Habits, and Status. 

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) Brant (Brent) Goose, Branta bernicia LC

Range - Distribution and Habitat of the Brant Goose:

Range of Brant (Brent) Goose
 Brant Goose Range Map

Original Source of Map of North America from

Modified by:


The brant goose is a migratory native breeding resident of Canada. It breeds in the coastal territories of the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

There are three subspecies of this goose. The Dark-bellied brant goose B. b. bernicla, Pale-bellied brant goose B. b. hrota also known as the Atlantic brant and the Black brant B. b. nigricans which may be called the Pacific brant.

DNA data supports the claim that each of these subspecies are genetically distinct. This proprosal has not been accepted because there is additional evidence that supports maintaining it as a single species.

Breeding habitat

This goose tends to breed around salt marshes, river deltas, tundra covered flats, and on small grassy islands located near the shore. In all cases, it will nest just above the high tide line. This bird also has an affinity to choosing areas where Sabine’s Gulls, Snowy Owls, Peregrine Falcons or any other large raptor is present. This affinity appears to be a defensive mechanism that helps to deter predation of their nest by small mammals.

Winter Habitat

This bird migrates south and spends its time in estuaries, lagoons, on coastal mudflats, coastal saltmarshes, and in protected bays. It may be found on cultivated grasslands but again they seem to be coastal related. Except for when migrating, this bird rarely visits a freshwater wetland.

Description of Brant Goose:

Brant (Bent) Goose
Brant Goose
Brant Goose - USFWS - Flickr

The Brant goose on the surface appears much like a Canada goose. Major difference lies in the fact that it is smaller. It also has a white ring around its neck whereas the Canada goose has a white chin strap. The Brant also possesses a short black tail with a white underside.

Dark Bellied Brant

This subspecies has a uniform dark grey-brown body. Its flanks and belly are not much paler than its back. Its head and neck are black. It also has a small white patch on each side of its neck.

Pale-bellied brant

This goose will look blackish-brown and light grey in colour. Its body will have multiple shades of grey and brown all over. Its flanks and belly are much paler in colour than its back and represents a significant contrast of colour. Its head and neck are black. On each side of its neck is a small white patch. It breeds in northeastern Canada and winters along the U.S. Atlantic coast from Maine to Georgia.

Black brant

This goose looks blackish-brown and white. This colouring provides a striking black and white bird. Its back is a uniformly coloured dark sooty-brown and its underparts have a similar colour. On its flank is a prominent white patch. It also has a larger white neck patch that forms a nearly complete collar. It breeds in northwestern Canada, and winters mostly on North Americas’ west coast from southern Alaska to California.

This bird has an overall length that ranges from 24.6 to 25.2 inches (62.5 to 64 cm.) long, a wingspan of 42 to 48 inches (106.7 to 121.9 cm.) across, and it has a body mass of 1.9 to 4.9 lbs. (0.88 to 2.2 kg.).

The longest living wild Brant goose recorder was 28.7 years old.

Diet and Foraging Strategy of the Brant Goose:

This bird is mainly active during the day. It is considered to be an herbivore despite the fact that it may consume animal matter like fish eggs, worms, snails, and amphipods.

On their breeding grounds, the Brant goose mainly forages on algae, aquatic plants, arrowgrass, lichen, moss, sedges, saltmarsh grass, and tundra grass. For adults and developing chick, specific plants of importance are the Creeping alkali grass and Hoppner sedge.

Their winter diet is primarily eelgrass but it may also consume other plants like beaked Tasselweed, Sea lettuce, Sea cabbage, Spartina alterniflora, Sea asparagus, and Arrowgrass.

Breeding and Reproduction of the Brant Goose:

This goose leaves its winter grounds in mid-March to mid-April and arrives on its breeding grounds in early June. Here it may breed in a small loose colony or in singe pairs. Natures events are synchronized very tightly. For soon after arriving on the breeding grounds this bird will moult. This moulting renders the bird flightless but is the perfect time for it will be nesting.

Pairs of Brant goose develop a life long relationship.

Nesting sites are usually in areas of the coastal tundra be it an island, delta, or low bare terrain. Preference is given to sites that are on peninsulas or inlets with wetlands.

The months of June and July find pairs of Brant Geese making their nests on the ground in a shallow depression. The nest is lined with moss and lichen and is typically located within a few hundred meters of the high-water mark.

The female will lay a clutch of 3 to 4 eggs in the nest. This is her only brood and if the nest fails, the pair will not re-nest. The male will stand vigilant while she incubates the eggs and that will take 22 to 26 days to occur.

The young are born precocial and both adults will care for them. The adults will lead their broods from the nesting grounds to habitats that are along tidal flats where they may join others and form large nurseries. Here the chicks will develop and it takes 45 to 50 days for them to fledge.

Flocks of Brant geese leave the nesting grounds and start their winter migration in early September.

Some members of this species will first breed at two years of age while most breed at 3.

Status of Brant Goose:

The Brant Goose was assessed by BirdLife International in 2015 to be a species of Least Concern. Justification for this assessment on the Red List was because it has a very large range and the population (unknown) is not believed to be in a state of decline.


Brant Goose

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