All About Brant

The Black Brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) is a small sea goose that is about the size of the common Mallard and stages one of the most spectacular migrations of all waterfowl.

Brant numbers have been declining in recent decades. This is due in part to the rapid growth of the human population in coastal communities in the Strait of Georgia. This growth causes disturbances to the Brant’s estuaries, beaches, bays and spits where they feed and rest before their migration north to Arctic breeding grounds. The Washington Brant Foundation was formed to raise awareness by promoting preservation and enhancement of critical use areas, and help improve management programs.

Pacific flyway Brant have an extensive breeding range from the low Arctic of Western Alaska to the extreme high Arctic areas of Russia, Alaska, and Northwest Territories of Canada.

Brant make one of the most spectacular migrations of all waterfowl. Over 140,000 Pacific black migrate along the pacific flyway each year. In the fall virtually all Pacific Coast birds gather at Izembek Lagoon on the Alaska Peninsula to prepare for their journey south.

Much like their choice of habitat, Brant rely heavily on one main food source most of the year. Ninety-five per cent of the Brant diet is composed on eelgrass (Zostera marina and Zostera japonica) which grows in the waters of intertidal mudflats. Brant along the Pacific coastline of British Columbia are strictly coastal. They do not come inland to graze.

Metal leg bands have been in use for decades and have revealed a rough outline of the migration story.