Below some information on the Spur-winged goose. From this is seems that it is still a goose although it share some characteristics with certain duck species.
The Spur-winged Goose, Plectropterus gambensis, is a large African bird in the family Anatidae, related to the geese and the shelducks, but distinct from both of these in a number of anatomical features, and therefore treated in its own subfamily, the Plectropterinae. It occurs in wetlands throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Anatidae is the biological family that includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swan. These are birds that are modified for swimming, floating on the water surface, and in some cases diving in at least shallow water.
They have webbed feet and bills which are flattened to a greater or lesser extent. Their feathers are excellent at shedding water due to special oils. Duck, eider and goose feathers and down have long been popular for bedspreads, pillows, sleeping bags and coats. The members of this family also have long been used for food.
While the status of the Anatidae as a family is straightforward, and there is little debate about which species properly belong to it, the relationships of the different tribes and subfamilies within it are poorly understood.
The Family Anatidae consists of various Subfamilies as shown below.
Dendrocygninae: whistling ducks
Thalassorninae: White-backed Duck
Anserinae: swans and geese
Stictonettinae: Freckled Duck
Plectropterinae: Spur-winged Goose
Tadorninae: shelducks, sheldgeese and steamer-ducks
Anatinae: dabbling and diving ducks
Merginae: eiders, scoters, sawbills and other sea-ducks
Oxyurinae: stiff-tail ducks
The following show the location of the Spur-winged goose in this large family
Scientific classification: Spur-winged goose
Species: P. gambensis (Spur-winged goose)
The Spur-winged Goose is unmistakable, being a massive black and white bird which can get to 39" (100cm) in length. It is, in fact, the largest of Africa's waterfowl. It is mostly vegetarian (although it will take small fish) and forages on land.
These large Geese can weigh up to 6.8kg and posses a Spur on the elbow of each wing that is used in defence against predators. The have dark upper body feathers with a glossed bronze appearance. Their beaks are bright red and their legs pink.
The 1913 Webster dictionary gives the following definitions:
Spur-winged: Having one or more spurs on the bend of the wings.
Spur-winged goose: any one of several species of long-legged African geese of the genus Plectropterus and allied genera, having a strong spur on the bend of the wing, as the Gambo goose (P. gambensis) [know also as Spur-winged goose] and the Egyptian, or Nile, goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca
Some more information
These heavy geese eat a variety of aquatic vegetation, fruits and grasses.
The pair build a large nest under cover where only the female incubates the eggs for around a month. During this time the male stays close by to defend the female, both sexes help rear the goslings (baby geese)
DID YOU KNOW?
Unlike most Geese, this species actually perches in trees.
Due to this fact Spur-winged geese was once included in the so called "perching ducks" although it is closer to the family Tadorninae which include the shelducks and sheldgeese.
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Last edited by francoisd on Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.