Family Magpie Goose (Anseranatidae)

Least Concern

Magpie Goose (Anseranas semipalmata)


French: Canaroie semipalmée German: Spaltfußgans Spanish: Ganso urraca

Anas semipalmata


, 1798,

Hawkesbury River, New South Wales, Australia


A primitive, aberrant goose-like species, now generally thought to be sufficiently distinct to be placed in its own family. Monotypic.


N Australia (from Broome, in Western Australia, E to Brisbane, in Queensland) and S New Guinea. Reintroduced in Victoria, SE Australia, where formerly widespread.

Descriptive notes

Male 75–90 cm, 1838–3195 g, wingspan 130–180 cm; female 70–80 cm, 1405–2770 g, wingspan 125–165 cm. Protuberance on head variable in size... read more


Loud, resonant honks, with those given by female higher-pitched than those of male, with so-called... read more


Swamps and grasslands in floodplains of tropical rivers, where great variations in water level... read more

Food and feeding

Almost entirely vegetarian diet, consisting mostly of blades of grass, seeds (Poaceae, Nymphaeaceae, Cyperaceae), bulbs and rhizomes,... read more


Often polygamous, typically one male paired with two females, all of which incubate eggs and provision young. Pair-bonds probably lifelong... read more


Not truly migratory, but wanders extensively in relation to food and water availability, dispersing... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Overall population has been placed at in excess of five million birds, of which 3,900,000 were thought to be present in Northern... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Magpie Goose (Anseranas semipalmata). 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 29 February 2020).