Red-breasted goose Branta ruficollis, photographed by Annette Cutts.

Belongs within: Anserinae.

The genus Branta contains the black geese of northern parts of Eurasia and North America. Branta species have contrastingly patterned black or brown and white plumage, and black legs and bills. The type species, the brent goose Branta bernicla is a primarily coastal species found over most of the genus' range, with a black head and neck and streaked white throat patch. The Canada goose B. canadensis is native to North America but has been widely introduced for hunting to regions such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand and southern South America. Like the brent goose, it has a mostly black head and neck but with a solid white patch across the cheeks and chin.

<==Branta Scopoli 1769 CC10 [=Brenta B94; incl. Bernicla Boie 1822 B94; Berniclinae, Brantinae]
    |  i. s.: B. minor Kessler & Gál 1996 M02
    |--+--*B. bernicla (Linnaeus 1758) CC10, PJ02, CS77 [=Anas bernicla CC10]
    |  |    |--B. b. bernicla CS77
    |  |    |--B. b. hrota (Müller 1776) CS77
    |  |    |--B. b. nigricans (Lawrence 1846) CS77
    |  |    `--B. b. orientalis Tougarinov 1941 I92
    |  `--B. ruficollis (Pallas 1769) PJ02, M02 [=Anas ruficollis M02, Anser ruficollis CS77]
    `--+--+--+--B. hutchinsii (Richardson in Swainson & Richardson 1832) PJ02, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
       |  |  |--B. minima [=B. canadensis minima] PJ02
       |  |  `--B. taverneri [=B. canadensis taverneri] PJ02
       |  `--B. leucopsis (Bechstein 1803) PJ02, CS77 [=Anas leucopsis CS77]
       `--+--B. canadensis (Linnaeus 1758) PJ02, CC10 [=Anas canadensis CC10]
          |    |--B. c. canadensis PJ02
          |    |--B. c. asiatica RN72
          |    |--B. c. fulva RN72
          |    |--B. c. interior PJ02
          |    |--B. c. leucopareia (Brandt 1836) I92
          |    |--B. c. maxima Delacour 1951 CC10
          |    |--B. c. moffitti Aldrich 1946 R85
          |    |--B. c. occidentalis PJ02
          |    `--B. c. parvipes PJ02
          `--+--B. hylobadistes PJ02
             `--B. sandvicensis PJ02 [=Nesochen sandvicensis BS00]

Branta hutchinsii (Richardson in Swainson & Richardson 1832) PJ02, CC10 [=Anser hutchinsii CC10, B. canadensis hutchinsii PJ02]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BS00] Ballard, H. E., Jr & K. J. Systsma. 2000. Evolution and biogeography of the woody Hawaiian violets (Viola, Violaceae): Arctic origins, herbaceous ancestry and bird dispersal. Evolution 54 (5): 1521–1532.

[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[CS77] Cramp, S., & K. E. L. Simmons (eds) 1977. Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palaearctic vol. 1. Ostrich to Ducks. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

[I92] Iwahashi, J. (ed.) 1992. Reddo Deeta Animaruzu: a pictorial of Japanese fauna facing extinction. JICC: Tokyo.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[PJ02] Paxinos, E. E., H. F. James, S. L. Olson, M. D. Sorenson, J. Jackson & R. C. Fleischer. 2002. MtDNA from fossils reveals a radiation of Hawaiian geese recently derived from the Canada goose (Branta canadensis). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 99: 1399–1404.

[R85] Robertson, C. J. R. (ed.) 1985. Reader’s Digest Complete Book of New Zealand Birds. Reader’s Digest: Sydney.

[RN72] Rutgers, A., & K. A. Norris (eds.) 1972. Encyclopaedia of Aviculture vol. 1. Blandford Press: London.

Last updated: 27 November 2021.

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