These charming monochromatic birds spend their breeding season on the boggy arctic tundra of northern Siberia. It’s in this unforgiving environment that dark-bellied brents nest and raise their young for the first weeks of their vulnerable lives.
The climate is so severe that there is a mere 2 month window of fair weather before the returning cold triggers the need to leave, and an incredible migration begins. It’s a sharp learning curve for the juveniles.
Their 3000 mile flight takes them south and west, following the migratory super-highway down the Baltic coast. The journey is broken by familiar rest stops; marshland, coastal grassland or suitable farmland on which to roost and feed.
In places where the grazing is good they may linger a while, before pushing on for their final destination: the estuaries and wetlands of our coast. The entire journey takes no more than a matter of weeks. To hear the burbling of Brents, why not have a listen to the tweet of the day?
Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 5: the Red List for Birds (2021). Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.