Belongs to: geese

Compare with: canada goose

Barnacle goose Branta leucopsis

BoCC Red list


Best time to see: Oct to Apr

Key facts

Striking black-and-white goose; forming large flocks in favoured areas

Owes its name to the mediaeval myth that it did not come from an egg but from goose barnacles

Annual winter visitor to Britain from its arctic breeding grounds; feral populations also breed in the UK, including in Essex

Recognition

Small goose with grey and black upperparts, black breast and neck, white face and black bill; 58–68 cm

Walks and grazes in fields, takes off and lands on water and ground; flight strong and powerful

Lifecycle

In Essex, breeds on islands in inland lakes or in saltmarsh

Nest is a lined depression; one brood of 3–5 white eggs, June – July

  • Main photo

Photo © Robin Chittenden