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The African Pygmy Goose – Keeping the World’s Smallest Waterfowl

Pygmy GooseDucks and geese have many endearing qualities, but few private keepers have the space and flowing water required by most species. Although not common in captivity, the diminutive African Pygmy Goose, Nettapus auritus, is an ideal alternative to its larger relatives. Those I’ve cared for have been delightful, and quite hardy once established. The Indian Pygmy Goose, N. coromandelianus, offers another option; I’ll cover its care in the future.

Natural History

Averaging 12 inches in length, the African Pygmy Goose is the smallest of the world’s waterfowl. Technically a “perching duck”, its common name is derived from the stubby, goose-like bill.  Others which share its un-duck-like habit of nesting in trees include the strikingly-marked Mandarin and Wood Ducks (please see the article below).

African Pygmy Geese are widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa andMadagascar. They reside in swamps, marshes, flooded savannas, sluggish rivers and similar densely-vegetated habitats (please see photo). Shy and secretive, they do not frequent open water, and fly into thick brush when disturbed.  Read More »

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