Pygmy goose

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Pygmy geese
Green pygmy goose
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Suborder: Anseres
Superfamily: Anatoidea
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Nettapus
Brandt, 1836
Type species
Anas aurita
Nettapus map.svg
  N. auritus
  N. c. coromandelianus
  N. c. albipennisauritus
  N. pulchellus

The pygmy geese are a group of very small "perching ducks" in the genus Nettapus which breed in the Old World tropics. They are the smallest of all wildfowl. As the "perching ducks" are a paraphyletic group,[1] they need to be placed elsewhere. The initially assumed relationship with the dabbling duck subfamily Anatinae[citation needed] has been questioned, and it appears they form a lineage in an ancient Gondwanan radiation of waterfowl, within which they are of unclear affinities.[2] An undescribed fossil species from the late Hemphillian (5.0–4.1 mya) of Jalisco, central Mexico, has also been identified from the distal end of a tarsometatarsus. It is only record of the genus in the New World.[3]

The genus Nettapus was erected by the German naturalist Johann Friedrich von Brandt in 1836.[4] The name is from Ancient Greek nētta meaning "duck" and pous meaning "foot". It was thought that the type species, the African pygmy goose (Nettapus auritus), possessed the feet and body of a duck and the neck of a goose.[5]

There are three extant species in the genus:[6]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
African pygmy goose, Nettapus auritus, at Muirhead Dams, Royal Macadamia Plantations, Machado, Limpopo, South Africa - male (26144126211).jpg Nettapus auritus African pygmy goose Sub-Saharan Africa
Cotton Pgymy Goose I2- Kolkata IMG 4808.jpg Nettapus coromandelianus Cotton pygmy goose northern Australasia and Southeast Asia
Green Pygmy Goose 3009.jpg Nettapus pulchellus Green pygmy goose northern Australia and southern New Guinea

Pygmy geese have short bills, rounded heads and short legs. They nest in tree holes.


  1. ^ Livezey, Bradley C. (1986). "A phylogenetic analysis of recent anseriform genera using morphological characters" (Full text). Auk. 103 (4): 737–754.
  2. ^ Sraml, M.; Christidis, L.; Easteal, S.; Horn, P.; Collet, C. (1996). "Molecular Relationships Within Australasian Waterfowl (Anseriformes)". Australian Journal of Zoology. 44 (1): 47–58. doi:10.1071/ZO9960047.
  3. ^ Steadman, D.; Carranza-Castaneda, O. (2006). "Early Pliocene to early Pleistocene birds from central Mexico". Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Geología and Centro de Geociencias, Publicacion Especial. 4: 61–71. ISBN 970-32-3895-5.
  4. ^ Brandt, Johann Friedrich von (1836). Descriptiones et icones animalium rossicorum novorum vel minus rite cognitorum (in Latin). Vol. Fasciculus 1: Aves. Jussu et sumptibus Academiae Scientiarum. p. 5.
  5. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 269. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  6. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2017). "Screamers, ducks, geese & swans". World Bird List Version 7.3. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 7 November 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Madge, Steve; Burn, Hilary (1987). Wildfowl : an identification guide to the ducks, geese and swans of the world. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 190–193. ISBN 0-7470-2201-1.

External links[edit]

Media related to Nettapus at Wikimedia Commons
Data related to Nettapus at Wikispecies