Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

African Pygmy-goose (Nettapus auritus)


French: Anserelle naine German: Afrikazwergente Spanish: Gansito africano

Anas aurita


, 1783,





Senegal E to Eritrea and Somalia, and S (except SW Africa) to extreme E South Africa; Madagascar.

Descriptive notes

27–33 cm; 260–290 g. Male unmistakable, with white face, black crown and nape, oval green patch on side of head, pale chestnut lower neck, breast and flanks... read more


Both sexes frequently give high-pitched twittering whistles from young age, while pairs (especially... read more


Swamps, marshes, shallow freshwater lakes (including dams) and slow-flowing rivers with abundant... read more

Food and feeding

Seeds of water lilies (Nymphaea), seeds and green parts of other aquatic plants (e.g. Papsalum urvillei), aquatic... read more


Season variable with locality, but probably triggered by local rains: Jul–Oct in Gambia, Jun–Oct in Ghana, Jul–Aug in... read more


Mainly sedentary, but subject to dispersive movements and much local wandering dictated by habitat... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly widespread and locally common to abundant. Tied to presence of Nymphaea and submerged plants, at least in W Africa... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). African Pygmy-goose (Nettapus auritus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 22 March 2018).