Brent Goose (Dark-bellied)

Irish Name: Cadhan
Scientific name: Branta bernicla bernicla
Bird Family: Geese
Conservation status


A rare winter visitor from Siberia from October to March.


Very similar to the much commoner Light-bellied Brent Goose and care is needed to separate the two species. Dark-bellied Brent can be identified by the darker and much more extensive grey colouring on the flanks and back. The white flank patch that is very obvious in Light-bellied Brent Goose is reduced to a stripe along the flanks. Juvenile Light-bellied Brent similarly show a lack of a white flank patch, however these have extensive white barring on the back, which is not shown by adults.


Indistinguishable from Light-bellied Brent Goose.


Favoured food is eel-grass found in coastal estuaries. Dark-bellied Brent Geese also feed on other estuarine plants such as glassworts and sea aster, and to a lesser extent grasses and cereals.


Dark-bellied Brent Geese breed in the tundra of northern Siberia.


The majority of Dark-bellied Brent Geese winter in the Netherlands, northern France and the United Kingdom. This sub-species is a rare winter visitor in Ireland, where it associates with Light-bellied Brent Geese at coastal sites (mainly estuaries).

Similar Species

Barnacle Goose

Irish Name:
Gé ghiúrainn
Scientific name:
Branta leucopsis
Bird Family:

Brent Goose (Light-bellied)

Irish Name:
Scientific name:
Branta bernicla hrota
Bird Family:

Canada Goose

Irish Name:
Gé Cheanadach
Scientific name:
Branta canadensis
Bird Family: