The Magpie-Goose is found only in swamps and wet grasslands of southern New Guinea and northern Australia. In this respect it fills a niche rather like the one inhabited by screamers (family Anhimidae) in the New World.
It is not a duck or goose, but is regarded as a primitive relative of them. It has a characteristic knob on the crown which increases in size with age. The Magpie Goose differs from most waterfowl in having strongly clawed toes that are webbed only on their basal halves. It is also known as the pied goose and is a favourite food of north Australian aborigines.
Huge flocks of geese congregate to feed on the flood plains at certain times of the year. They prefer open country where approaching predators, such as dingoes, can be easily seen.
The above picture was taken in the zoo of Cleveland, Ohio, in August 2003.
Life on Earth