It is a medium-sized goose with 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. During flight a V-shaped white rump patch and the silver-gray underwing linings are visible. It is smaller than the Canada Goose with more silvery grey wings and mantle. It looks as though it has pulled a big black stocking over its head and neck but its white face has poked through the toes. Its habitat is winters on coastal grassland pastures and marshes. It breeds on islands in the Baltic.
They frequently build their nests high on mountain cliffs; away from predators. 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 and very light weight protects them from serious injury when they hit the ground. They are then led by the parents to nearby wetland feeding areas.