The African Pygmy Goose (Nettapus auritus) is a perching duck, related to the dabbling duck; it is not closely related to the goose. It is a wetland bird.
The African Pygmy Goose has a short beak like a goose’s beak, but it has the feet and body of a duck. The male has a white face with black eye patches. It has an iridescent black crown and light green ear patches. The male has an open white collar around its neck. Its neck and chest are light-chestnut coloured. It has chestnut-coloured sides and its back is metallic green. It has 16 black tail feathers. Its belly is white. Its beak is yellow with a black tip, and its feet are dark-grey. Its eyes are reddish-brown.
The female has a grey face with a dark-brown eye stripe, with brown patches on the cheeks and the back of her neck. The female has a dark-brown forehead and crown, with a dark-chestnut coloured chest and sides. Her belly is white. The lower part of her beak is yellow and the upper part is mottled-brown.
It is one of the smallest perching ducks, with a wingspan measuring 14-16 centimetres (5-6 inches).
The African Pygmy Goose is from sub-Saharan Africa. It is nomadic, moving from place to place. It prefers slow-moving water with plants, such as water lilies. It prefers wetlands, such as swamps, rivers, pools, estuaries, ponds, and streams.
It feeds on water lily seeds, and small insects. It is diurnal, active during the day.
It is often seen in pairs. It nests in tree hollows or in swampy vegetation. Females lay 8-12 eggs. Both parents look after their young, called chicks.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM