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Magpie geese

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Zygodactyl, 26 Nov 2016.

  1. Zygodactyl

    Zygodactyl Well-Known Member

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    In the Wings of Asia aviary at Zoo Miami, I saw a magpie goose sitting on the railing. I seem to recall it did that last time too, but I couldn't resist standing there and watching it. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't realize it wasn't a true goose (or even an anatid) until I looked it up after my encounter. I stood there watching it for several minutes, and would have spent longer if I hadn't wanted to try to catch more birds that I hadn't seen in the upper part of the aviary.

    It sat on the rail staring at me, about three feet from me, bobbing its head slightly and squawking quietly like my sun conure used to do to indicate contentment. It didn't seem to be aggressive (and I figured that if it were as aggressive as the geese I know it wouldn't be in a mixed, walk-through aviary) since it wasn't hissing and wasn't changing its posture, but I still went around in a wide berth when I passed it, because I realized I don't know anything about magpie geese and their behavior.

    Because the squawking reminds me of my late conure I found it absolutely adorable, and I'm wondering if anybody here knows more about magpie geese and their behavior than what's on Wikipedia?
     
  2. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    An interesting aspect of magpie goose behaviour, unique amongst ducks, geese and swans, is that the parent birds directly feed the goslings beak to beak.
     
  3. Zygodactyl

    Zygodactyl Well-Known Member

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    Since magpie geese are the outgroup relative to anatids, is that something that they evolved to do though, or is it a vestigial feature they share with screamers?
     
  4. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The link below provides an interesting article on magpie geese that includes comparisons with screamers.

    Breeding biology of the Magpie Goose | Johnsgard | Wildfowl
     
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  5. Zygodactyl

    Zygodactyl Well-Known Member

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    1961! Wow that's old! But it's still quite detailed. It doesn't answer the specific question of whether screamers also engage in that feeding behavior, however it notes that magpie geese have bill markings which the young peck at while screamers do not, which makes it likely that it's a feature not shared with any of the other Anseriforms.