Brent Goose

Brent Goose

Key facts

Scientific name: Branta bernicla

Status: Winter visitor

Wintering birds: 102,000

Conservation status: Amber

Length: 56 – 62 cm

Wingspan: 110 – 120 cm

Weight: 1300 – 1600 g


Adult brent geese have dark brown to black plumage. They have dark grey upperparts with pale edges and dark grey-brown flanks and tails. Their flight feathers and uppertail coverts are black. Their undertail coverts are white.

Brent geese have black heads, necks and breasts and their is a white patch on the upper neck. They have small bills which are black as are their legs and feet. Their eyes are dark brown.

Male and female brent geese look similar and juveniles resemble the adults with duller plumage and the white patch on the neck is missing.


Brent geese nest in solitary pairs in loose colonies They build their nests close to water in a shallow hole in the ground lined with soft materials such as grass, moss and feathers.

Brent geese lay 3-5 creamy white eggs which are incubated by the female for 24-26 days. Chicks leave the nest soon after hatching and fledge in about six weeks.


Brent geese eat mainly vegetation such as aquatic plants, moss, grass and lichen. During winter they they eat algae, seaweed and eelgrass.

Brent Goose

Where to see them

Brent geese arrive in the UK in October and depart in April. They can be found around much of the coast in estuaries and salt marshes.


Peter Boesman/xeno-canto

Did you know?

Brent geese got their name from the Old Norse word ‘brandgás’ meaning ‘burnt goose’ and in some countries they are called brant geese?

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