Black Geese

There are 6 species of medium to large geese known as “Black Geese” (genus Branta).

Brant (B. bernicla) is mostly dark, except for a white collar and rear. There are 3 subspecies – Dark-bellied (bernicla), Pale-bellied (hrota) and Black (nigrians).

Dark-bellied Brant breeds in northwestern and north-central Russia, and winters in northwestern Europe. It has a small white collar, dark belly and dark upperparts.

Pale-bellied breeds in northeastern Canada, Greenland and Svalbard, and winters in USA. It has a small white collar, pale belly and paler upperparts than the other two.

Black Brant breeds in Siberia, Alaska and northwestern Canada, and winters south to eastern Asia and Mexico. The dark parts are blacker than the other two, contrasting with the large white flank, and the white collar is thicker.

Pale-bellied Brant

Pale-bellied Brant in NY, US ©Con Foley

Barnacle Goose (B. leucopsis) is a distinctive bird not likely to be confused with others. It breeds in Greenland and northwestern Russia, and winters in Europe.

Barnacle Goose

Barnacle Goose in Sweden ©Con Foley

Canada Goose and Cackling Goose (B. canadensis and B. hutchinsii) look alike, but Cackling Goose is smaller, with shorter bill and shorter neck[1,2].

Canada Goose

Canada Goose in ID, US ©Tan KH

Nene or Hawaiian Goose (B. sandvicensis) is a distinctive bird not likely to be confused with others. It can only be found in Hawaii.

Red-breasted Goose (B. sandvicensis) is a distinctive bird not likely to be confused with others.

Reference
[1] http://www.sibleyguides.com/2007/07/identification-of-cackling-and-canada-goose/
[2] http://creagrus.home.montereybay.com/MTYbirdsCACG.html

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