Arctic Species: Brent Goose

The Brent Goose is the rarest of the three species of goose on Spitsbergen. It is most often seen in the northwest corner, but many visits go by without seeing any. In early season they are slightly more common as later, feeding the theory that some of the birds might use Spitsbergen as a stopover site on their migration to North-East Greenland. If that’s the case, this would be the only species that uses Spitsbergen as a stopover during their migration. Moffen, the small sandy island just north of Spitsbergen, famous for its Walrus colony and breeding Sabine’s Gulls, might be one of the better places to see this species, telescope needed, as you are not allowed to get within 300m.

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Flying Brent Geese

Pale-bellied Brent Goose – Branta bernicla hrota
Length: 55-62 cm, wingspan: 105-117 cm
The smallest of the three goose species, more brown as the Barnacle Goose

There are several subspecies of Brent Goose, the birds on Spitsbergen are of the Pale-bellied subspecies. They are smaller as a Barnacle Goose and are more brown and black, instead of grey and black. In winter they leave the area and fly to their wintering grounds between Denmark and the Netherlands.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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