Barnacle Goose

Branta leucopsis

  1. Wildlife
  2. Birds
  3. Waterfowl
  4. Barnacle Goose


The Barnacle Goose is one of our smaller geese, with a relatively small, rounded head and a very short bill. A common winter visitor to the north-west of Britain in particular. Like all geese, they will graze on vegetation such as roots, stems, leaves and seeds.

How to identify

A small, black and white goose, with more white on its face than the Canada Goose. Barnacle Geese have no brown on them at all.

Where to find it

Wild birds only found here in the winter. Nests in Greenland and Svalbard and spends the winter in Scotland and Ireland. Small numbers of feral birds nest on gravel pits and park lakes.


When to find it

  • October
  • November
  • December
  • January
  • February
  • March

How can people help

Britain is an important stopover for many wintering migrant species, so it is vital that we protect the places they rely on. But the survival of our waterbirds is threatened by the loss and degradation of many of our wetland habitats. The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and be helping local wildlife along the way.

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Species information

Common name
Barnacle Goose
Latin name
Branta leucopsis
Length: 58-68cm Wingspan: 1.3m Weight: 1.7kg Average Lifespan: 14 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.