Magpie Goose

Details About The Magpie Goose

  • General Information

    Magpie Geese are large geese with black necks and heads, white stomachs, and white wings with black tips. They have a knob on their head that increases in size with age. Their beak, legs, and feet are orange, and the feet are only partially webbed (as opposed to the fully webbed feet of most waterfowl).

    Latin Name: Anseranas semipalmata

    Class: Aves

    Order: Anseriformes

    Family: Anseronatidoe

    Length: 30-35 inches

    Weight: 6.5 pounds

    Wingspan: 5 feet

    Common Name: Pied goose, Semipalmated goose

    Etymology: Anseranas means “duck”; semipalmata means “partially webbed feet”

  • Flight, Voice & Habitat

    Despite their weight, the large wings of Magpie Geese make them capable of flying long distances to get from an old water source to a new one.

    Magpie Geese are very vocal, and make loud honking noises both on the ground and in flight.

    Magpie Geese live and forage in areas with flood plains, wet grasslands, or swamps.

  • Nesting

    Magpie Geese are often found in large groups, and will nest in trios instead of pairs. Two females will lay 3-5 eggs each the same nest (totaling 6-10 eggs in one nest!). Breeding season starts at the beginning of the local wet season, and the male does most of the nest building. Nests are generally floating platforms made of spike-rush, and nests are only used for one season. Chicks hatch after 24-35 days, and fledge at 3 months. Both females and the male will all feed the chicks, usually by helping them to reach grasses the chicks could not reach otherwise.

  • Distribution

    Magpie Geese are found in the coastal areas of northern and eastern Australia.

  • Food

    Magpie Geese feed on aquatic vegetation, and have adaptations that allow them to eat wild rice and spike-rush.

  • Current Resident Birds

    Kalali is named after the indigenous Australian people of the state of Queensland. She arrived in 2017 from Sylvan Heights Bird Park, and currently lives with our White-Faced Whistling-Duck, Denali. Kalali travels to our Tiny Talon Tales preschool programs, where she helps young children learn about the differences between owls and waterfowl.

  • Fun Facts & Other Interesting Information

    Magpie Geese are unique in the waterfowl world, as most waterfowl do not feed their young. They are highly social and can be seen in traveling in large flocks to new areas after a water source dries up. Unlike other ducks and geese, the Magpie Goose does not undergo a complete, flightless molt period and will instead gradually molt out feathers.