Marine Wildlife Encyclopedia
Brant Goose Branta bernicla
A compact bird with a gray body, black head, and black neck, the Brant goose breeds in the High Arctic but winters on coasts at temperate latitudes—a pattern followed by many other wildfowl. Its preferred food is eelgrass, a marine plant that grows in shallow water, but in its winter quarters it also grazes in coastal fields. Brant geese nest in colonies in low-lying coastal tundra, laying up to five eggs and raising a single brood each year. Like many birds in the High Arctic, their numbers undergo steep fluctuations. In mild summers, most of their goslings survive, but if conditions are unusually cold, very few young Brant geese live long enough to migrate when summer comes to an end.