American Game Birds

Illustrating More Than One Hundred Species In Natural Colors

By Chester A. Reed

Page 24

BRANT (Branta bernicla glaucogastra). The common Brant is found in eastern North America and Greenland, breeding on Arctic Islands and wintering on the Atlantic coast southward from Massachusetts. They make their appearance on the coast of the United States in October, the various flocks congregating in favorite places in immense numbers. They fly with no apparent leader and in a compact flock. They are very noisy, their notes being loud, rolling and guttural, quite unlike the honking of geese. They are not nearly as shy and wary as Canada Geese, it often being possible to approach a flock on the water or on a sand bar near enough for a shot. They come to decoys with the greatest confidence and, consequently, are killed in such great numbers that they are yearly becoming less abundant. Their food consists almost wholly of grasses and roots which are pulled up in shallow water where they can easily reach bottom. They do not dive at all, in fact even a wounded Brant cannot dive, but tries to escape by swimming as rapidly as possible to windward.

     Brant are about equally often called "Brent Goose" or sometimes "Black Brant" to distinguish them from the Snow Geese, which are in the same places called "White Brant." This latter cognomen, however, is quite incorrect; it is reserved particularly for the next species.


BLACK BRANT (Branta nigricans). This species is of the same size as the last, namely 24 in. in length. They are, however, darker above, and the black on the breast extends over the under parts to the belly and crissum. The white neck patches are also larger and usually meet in front. Black Brant are birds of the Pacific coast, there wholly replacing the species that is found in the east. They are rarely found inland, but keep off the coast and in bays in large flocks. Their flight is rather heavy and not very fast, performed in a widely strung out line at right angles to their line of progression. Both species of Brant usually fly rather low, following the coast line and rarely cutting across even short stretches of land.