Green pygmy goose

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Green pygmy goose
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Nettapus
Species: N. pulchellus
Binomial name
Nettapus pulchellus
Gould, 1842

The green pygmy goose (Nettapus pulchellus) is a small perching duck which breeds in southern New Guinea and northern Australia.


First described in 1842 by the ornithologist John Gould, its specific name is derived from diminutive of the Latin adjective pulcher "pretty".[2] It is one of three species in the Afro-Asian genus Nettapus, an ancient and unusual group of ducks. No subspecies are recognised.


Adult in Perth Zoo

Ranging from 30 to 36 cm (12 to 14 in) in length, it is one of the smallest species of duck. It has a 48 to 60 cm (19 to 23.5 in) wingspan. It has a small bill and compact form. The breeding male has a predominantly dark green back, neck and crown, white cheeks and dark green, pale grey and white scalloped underparts. The tail and primary flight feathers and primary coverts are black, while the secondary flight feathers are white. The secondary coverts are a dark iridescent green. This iridescence is lost outside of the breeding season and the plumage is duller. It exhibits sexual dimorphism, the female has a barred rather than green neck and otherwise resembles the non-breeding male. Immature birds are duller, and have mottled dark brown heads.[3]

The male has a high-pitched whistle and the female a lower-pitched call.[3]


The green pygmy goose is found in southern New Guinea and across northern Australia (from Western Australia, through Northern Territory and into Queensland).[3] To the west, it commonly reaches Timor-Leste, where it possibly breeds at Lake Iralalara.[4] It is largely resident, apart from dispersion in the wet season. The habitat is well vegetated lowland lagoons and other permanent fresh waters.[3]


The green pygmy goose nests in tree hollows. Eight to twelve eggs are laid and the incubation period is 26 days.[5]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Nettapus pulchellus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Simpson DP (1979). Cassell's Latin Dictionary (5th ed.). London: Cassell Ltd. ISBN 0-304-52257-0. 
  3. ^ a b c d Ogilvie, Malcolm Alexander; Young, Steve (2003). Wildfowl of the world. Sydney, NSW: New Holland Publishers. p. 72. ISBN 1-84330-328-0. 
  4. ^ Trainor, Colin L. (2005). "Waterbirds and coastal seabirds of Timor-Leste (East Timor): status and distribution from surveys". Forktail. 21: 61–78. 
  5. ^ "Green Pygmy Goose". Perth Zoo website. South Perth, WA: Perth Zoo. 18 March 2009. Retrieved 22 February 2010. 

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