WHAT’S IN A NAME?

BARNACLE GOOSE

Bird Watching (UK) - - What To See And How To See It -

The now weird idea that the Barnacle Goose and the Goose Barnacle are the same crea­ture ap­par­ently dates back for nearly a mil­len­nium. In the 12th Cen­tury, Ger­ard of Wales claimed to have seen the birds hang­ing down from tim­ber; and in the 16th Cen­tury, botanist John Ger­ard claimed to have wit­nessed the geese as they emerged from their shells! This is said to have per­sisted as a leg­end un­til the end of the 18th Cen­tury. The sci­en­tific name of the genus in­clud­ing Barnacle as well as Brent and Canada Geese is Branta, which is a La­tinised form of the Old Norse Brandgás, which means burnt, re­fer­ring to the black in the plumage.

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