Barnacle Goose

Branta leucopsis

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

BARG

Code 6

BRALEU

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Barnacle Goose has a fairly small breeding range of 82,800 square kilometers. It breeds on dry Arctic tundra on cliffs, rocky slopes, and coastal islands in eastern Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard, scattered sites in Scandinavia, and sites in northwestern Russia. It winters in salt marshes, mud flats, and farm fields near coastal areas in parts of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, and from Germany to Belgium on the North Sea. This bird species also occurs as a vagrant to the United States. The population of the Barnacle Goose is estimated to be around 800,000 individuals and has been given a conservation rating of Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Barnacle Goose: Medium goose, distinctive white face, jet-black head, neck, and upper breast. Wings and back are silver-gray with black-and-white bars. Belly is white. V-shaped white rump patch and silver-gray underwing linings are visible in flight. Black bill,legs and feet. Strong direct flight.

 

Range and Habitat

Barnacle Goose: Breeds in Greenland and northern Eurasia. Spends winters in northern Europe and British Isles. Probably rare vagrant in northeastern North America, though many records are believed to be of escaped captive birds. Preferred habitats include arctic rivers and marshlands; winters on coastal marshes and grasslands.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"kaw"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • It was an important part of medieval cuisine; since it was believed to be produced from barnacles, Catholics classified these geese as fish and therefore could eat their flesh during Lent.
  • It was thought they developed from the Goose Barnacle. The confusion was prompted by the similarities in color and shape, and the fact that they appeared in different seasons.
  • The English name of the Barnacle Goose, and the scientific name of the Brent Goose (B. bernicla), come from the fable that Barnacle Geese were produced from barnacles.
  • A group of geese has many collective nouns, including a "blizzard", "chevron", "knot", "plump", and "string" of geese.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
RumpX
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X