Brent Goose (Branta bernicla)
Brent Goose, Tyninghame, East Lothian, Scotland, January 2001 - click for larger image There are four subspecies of Brent Goose three of which occur in Europe. The first 2 photos are of B. b. hrota known as the "pale-bellied Brent" while the 3rd photo is of the nominate sub-species which has a dark grey belly.
Brent Goose, Unst, Shetland, Scotland - click for larger image The other two European subspecies are the "dark-bellied Brent" which is the nominate subspecies B. b. bernicla and the "Black Brant", B. b. nigricans which is a vagrant from North America. The main distinguishing visual feature between the subspecies is the shade of the belly and flanks.

Brent Geese are migratory and the subspecies tend to spend both winter and summer in different areas.

Brent Goose, Trimley Marshes, Suffolk, England, March 2005 - click for larger image The pale-bellied Brent is divided into two populations. The first breeds in and around Greenland and winters in Ireland while the second breeds on Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land (in arctic Europe) and winters mainly in Northumberland.

The dark-bellied Brent breeds on the tundra of Russia and winters in Denmark, the Netherlands, western France and south-east England. The Black Brant breeds in Siberia, Alaska and western Canada and winters mainly down the west and east coasts of the north Pacific Ocean although some vagrants make it to Europe where they tend to mix with other subspecies of Brent Geese.

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