Branta bernicla
Range Map

Brant Geese breed in coastal Arctic tundra. There are forms of this bird in Europe and Asia, and two forms in North America. On the West Coast, they have a dark belly, and on the East Coast, a lighter gray belly.

Modern taxonomists recognise three subspecies of Brant:

  • B. b. bernicla breeds in the central Russian Arctic, and spends winters in western Europe.
  • B. b. hrota breeds in the eastern North American Arctic and northern Greenland, and spends winters in the eastern USA and Ireland.
  • B. b. nigricans breeds in western North America’s low Arctic to the eastern Russian Arctic, and spends winters from Japan south to northeastern China, and from Alaska to northwestern Mexico.

Those of us living in San Diego can count on winter meetings on any visit to the South Bay. Considering how far these birds travel to and from their breeding grounds, I consider myself fortunate that I get to see these small to medium-sized geese.

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