Magpie geese are unmistakable birds with their black and white plumage and yellowish legs. The feet are only partially webbed, although the Magpie Goose will feed on vegetable matter in the water as well as on land. Males are larger than females. Unlike true geese, the moult is gradual, and there is no flightless period. The voice is a loud honking. A classicist study of the morphology of waterfowl found that the magpie goose was an early and distinctive offshoot, diverging after screamers and before all other ducks, geese and swans.
Appearance: – The Magpie Goose has a black and white plumage, a long neck, bare red skin on its face, a red knob above the beak, small orange beak with a hook at the end, and orange-colored legs and feet which are partially webbed. Both sexes are alike although the female is slightly smaller and has a smaller knob above her beak.
Size: – Typical Adult is about 30-35 inches.
Food: – Aquatic plants, seeds, small invertebrates, grazing on grasses, crops, roots, rice and grain.
Habitat: – Open wetlands, floodplains, swamps, freshwater lakes, and coastal waters in northern Australia and southern New Guinea.
Breeding Season: – February to April in the south, or August to September in the north.
Eggs: – 5 to 8 per female (creamy-white color).
Notes: – The Magpie Goose, or Pied Goose as it is sometimes called, is very distinct from other species of Goose and is a unique member of the order Anseriformes. The male will often have two female mates. The male builds the nest and the females both lay their eggs in the same nest. All three parents will feed their young. These birds do not lose all their feathers at once during moulting so they remain able to fly all year round.