Barnacle Goose


Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis)

The Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis) is a medium-sized goose from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
English name:
Barnacle Goose
German name:
French name:
Bernache nonnette
Scientific name:
Branta leucopsis

Scientific classification




Has a white face and black head, neck, and upper breast. Its belly is white. The wings and its back are silver-gray with black-and-white bars that look like they are shining when the light reflects on it. During flight a V-shaped white rump patch and the silver-gray underwing linings are visible.

Identical as male but slightly smaller I.D. best if compared wile paird.

Identical to adults at about 8 weeks and can fly.


Northern (True) Geese are generally hardy and easy to manage. They are usually gregarious and many species may be kept in flocks, however they tend to be territorial and aggressive in the breeding season and some may need to be maintained in separate pens. It is often possible to keep small ducks with pairs of geese, unless the individual goose pair is particularly pugnacious. They should always be provided with adequate water for swimming.

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the Barnacle Goose measures approximately 58-69 centimeters. The female measures approximately 58-69 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 1500-1850 gram. The female will weight about 1500-1850 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!

For a single pair of geese a total pen area of 300m² (or 200m²  for smaller species, e.g. Red-breasted goose (Branta ruficollis), with at least 20% of this area water is suggested, although more water should be provided if possible in a larger pen.

Geese are grazers and should have access to good short grass (less than 7,5cm long for grazing. When grass is scarce, it may be supplemented with greenfood such as cabbage, lettuce etc.; alfalfa pellets have also been used for this purpose. Additional pellets should be given, with a change to breeder pellets in the breeding season.


Barnacle geese are common in collections, being hardy, easy to manage and generally unaggressive, although they may be aggressive in the breeding season. They may be kept in mixed exhibits with good grazing, and may be kept in a flock if there is sufficient space. A water area for swimming should be provided. They tend to remain at the site they were reared if left fully flighted. Good grazing will provide most of their food, although a basic pellet should be provided, plus vegetables (e.g. carrots) if grazing is limited.

These geese are easy to breed. They appreciate natural open ground cover for breeding; they may use a nest box or kennel/wigwam. Eggs may be laid from early April to mid June, particularly in the late half of April. They sit well; parent incubation and rearing is preferred. Breeding success may be decreased if these species are allowed to become too fat and this can be problematic particularly for the species which normally breed in the high Arctic.

This species is liable to hybridise - it is advisable to keep separate them from other geese species until they are paired.

The female Barnacle Goose usually lays from 3-5 white eggs and incubates them for 24-26 days.

Bird banding:
Recommended leg band size for the Barnacle Goose is 14 mm.
The leg band can only be applied on a young medium-sized goose at around 14-16 days old.

It doesn't matter what leg that you band, but it is good to have a consistent system.
Suggested: Left leg = Female, Right leg = Male
Preferred food:
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular

Lundi Regular with a protein content of 20%, valuable Spirulina and high-quality by-products is optimally balanced in its composition maintenance food for water ornamental fowl of all kinds. Especially green teal and Whistling ducks that are not dependent on a very high protein content, are well supplied.

Lundi Regular contains all the minerals and vitamins in full form that are important for the animals. Therefore also suitable as breeding food.

Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium

Floating full food for all sea ducks, green ducks, eider ducks and geese, especially in the moulting and breeding phase ideally suited. Packed with wholesome raw materials, natural vitamins and trace elements, this performance food with a protein content of 30% forms the basis for lifelong vitality.

Europese soort

Het is niet verboden om deze vogels te houden die van nature in Nederland voorkomen, op voorwaarde dat deze vogels in gevangenschap zijn geboren; nakweek dus. Deze vogels zijn voorzien van een gesloten pootring. Het is wel verboden om deze vogels te houden die in het wild gevangen zijn. Alleen bepaalde instanties, zoals vogelasiels en vogelhospitalen, zijn bevoegd om jonge en gewonde wilde vogels te houden. Deze bescherming van vogels wordt vormgegeven door schadelijke handelingen te verbieden zoals:het doden, verwonden, vangen, bemachtigen en met het oog daarop opsporen van vogels (art. 9 Flora- en faunawet); het opzettelijk verontrusten van vogels (art. 10 Flora- en faunawet);het beschadigen, vernielen, uithalen, wegnemen en verstoren van nesten, holen of andere voortplantings- of vaste rust- of verblijfplaatsen van vogels (art. 11 Flora- en faunawet);en het zoeken, rapen, uit het nest nemen, beschadigen of vernielen van eieren van vogels (art. 12 Flora- en faunawet).

Photos of the Barnacle Goose

Videos of the Barnacle Goose