Small and stocky rare goose with a small bill. From a distance appears dark and dull, and often blends into flocks of other geese. When seen well note the rich rusty breast and striking rusty and black-and-white head pattern. Mantle is dark and finely barred. White flank stripe is prominent on land and in flight. Also note the all dark underwings in flight. Breeds on the high arctic tundra, on islands, and coastal habitats. Winters mainly by the Black Sea.