Black Brant or Gray-bellied Brant?

This very interesting goose spent the entire 1998/99 winter with Atlantic Brant on the short-grass lawns of Floyd Bennet Field, Riis Park and Fort Tilden near New York City. I have already posted a series of pictures of this bird taken at the end of January 1999. To see them click here. On this page are a series of additional photographs taken on the 28th March 1999, this time under more overcast conditions.

There is good reason to think this is not a typical 'Pacific Black Brant' but rather a poorly defined form known as 'Gray-bellied Brant'. I would be interested in any specific comments or offers of comparative photographs of Black Brant from the west coast.

[Note added March 2003: Despite the original title of this page (written in 1999), this bird actually seems quite acceptable as a Black Brant. Contra many published photographs, many Black Brant in fact do show obvious contrast between the neck sock and lower breast. This is most evident in females or winter males. The black rather than brown tone to the underparts and back of the bird on this page together with the well-developed white neck collar, complete with prominent internal webbing, is also quite typical of Black Brant.]

Figure 1. With Atlantic Brant. Notice the obvious contrast between the black neck sock and the dark belly. The dark apron does not extend much beyond the legs. Notice the limited collars on the two Atlantic Brant.

Figure 2. Head-on view showing the underside of the neck.

Figure 3. Another side view, showing the extent of the dark apron.

Figure 4. Detail of the neck collar, which almost meets on the hindneck.

To see earlier photos of the same bird click here.

Photographs and page layout copyright of Angus Wilson© 1999 All rights reserved.
Back to the Index Page