Brant, Branta bernicla

Brant, black, 10/8/07, Moss Landing Harbor, Monterey Co
This is a "black Brant," the nigricans subspecies of these small geese, which nest in the Arctic, migrate along the Pacific Coast, and mostly winter in Mexico after one of the longest migrations of any waterfowl. Brant are powerful flyers, and achieve wind-aided flight speeds in Fall migration of up to 60 mph.

Brant, 2/18/07, Guadalupe River south of 85
This picture shows the black breast and dark brown central belly with white flanks of the black Brant; compare the lighter bellies of the eastern subspecies, shown at the bottom of the page.

Brant, black, first winter, 2/24/07, Point Pinos, Pacific Grove, Monterey Co
White tips on wing feathers (secondaries and wing-coverts) mark this as a first-winter black Brant. The juvenal wing plumage is retained through the first winter; see first-winter Brant in flight just below.

Brants, black, in flight, adult and first winter, 2/17/10, Jetty Road, Moss Landing, Monterey Co
The seven Brant showing white bars on the wings are first-winter birds; the two with solid dark upperpart plumage are probably adults.

Brant, 3/29/07, Point Pinos, Pacific Grove, Monterey Co
An adult black Brant with worn plumage, in March.

Brant, Atlantic, 6/4/06, Lighthouse Point, New Haven, CT
These Brant, photographed in June on the shore of Long Island Sound, show lighter and barred underparts, and an incomplete and less prominent necklace, both characteristics distinguishing the Atlantic subspecies hrota from the Pacific nigricans.