The barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis) belongs to the genus Branta of black geese, which contains species with largely black plumage, distinguishing them from the grey Anser species.It 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.
Barnacle geese frequently build their nests high on mountain cliffs, away from predators (primarily Arctic foxes and polar bears), but also away from food. Like all geese, the goslings are not fed by the adults. Instead of bringing food to the newly hatched goslings, the goslings are brought to the ground. Unable to fly, the three-day-old goslings jump off the cliff and fall; their small size, feathery down, and very light weight helps to protect some of them from serious injury when they hit the rocks below, but many die from the impact. Arctic foxes are attracted by the noise made by the parent geese during this time, and capture many dead or injured goslings.