Migratory Bird Program
Conserving the Nature of America
Focal Species

Pacific Black Brant (Branta bernicla nigricans)

Pacific Black Brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) breed over an extensive range in Alaska, Arctic Canada and Russia, and winter on the Pacific coastline mainly along the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. Little information exists for breeding populations in Russia and more information is needed on breeding distribution in the Canadian Arctic.

After a significant decline in the late 1970’s caused by harsh winters and over-harvesting, the population rebounded with increased hunting regulations and management in the early 1990’s to stable levels at about 126,000 birds, but still remains below the continental management goal of 150,000 wintering birds. Loss of winter habitat is one of the critical threats to this species as they are more dependent on natural wintering habitat than most other goose species. Much of the coastal habitat Brant use during winter is subject to human activities which result in loss of habitat through industrial and residential development or disturbance by recreational activities. Potential oil and gas development on the breeding areas and long-term effects of climate change also pose a threat.

Because breeding and wintering populations are localized, disasters such as eelgrass die off (a major food source), frozen feeding areas, pollution and oil spills in even one of the major staging or wintering areas could have a tremendous impact on the entire population. This vulnerability necessitates careful population-monitoring and regulation of hunting.

Arctic Goose Joint Venture. 2008. Meet the Geese: Brant.  Retrieved September 2010 from http://www.agjv.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15& Itemid=55.

Arctic Goose Joint Venture Technical Committee. 2008. Arctic Goose Joint Venture Strategic Plan:  2008 - 2012. Unpubl. Rept. [c/o AGJV Coordination Office, CWS, Edmonton, Alberta]. 112pp.

Reed, A., D. H. Ward, D. V. Derksen and J. S. Sedinger. 1998. Brant (Branta bernicla), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved September 2010 from http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/337.



Brant Pacific Black Brant - Photo Credit: Tim Moser

Action Plan  in development

Pacific Black Brant

Return to Focal Species Strategy



Last updated: December 1, 2011