Spur-winged goose in Uganda
The spur-winged goose is also referred to as Plectropterus gambensis and it is a large bird under the Anatidae family. This specie is related to the geese and the shelducks, but distinct from both of these in a number of anatomical features, hence being treated in its own subfamily, the Plectropterinae. The Spur-winged goose can be seen in wetlands areas of Lake Mburo national park in Uganda.
The Spur-winged Goose is massive with a long neck, mostly black waterfowl with alternating amounts of white on the head, wings, and belly. It has a warty red bill, face, and legs.
This bird can be differentiated from other regional waterfowl when the white forewings are combined with the black body during flight.
The male spur-winged goose is much bigger than the female.
In most cases, this specie forages on plant matter in several wetlands of Uganda and moist grasslands.
The size and plumage of the spur-winged goose make it distinctive amongst African waterfowl.
Typically, only the male spur-winged goose makes a call, which consists of a soft bubbling cherwit on the flight or as an alarm. During breeding displays or in instances of alarm, both sexes may utter other inconspicuous calls.
The breeding season for spur-winged geese is variable across the range. In Uganda breading happens from January to June. At times, the geese may violently put the spur on the bend of the wings to use in conflicts with other birds. Adult males are especially prone to attacking other adult males.
This specie is often poisonous due to its diet of blister beetles. The poison, cantharidin, is held within the tissue of the fowl resulting in the poisoning of those that eat the cooked goose. And yes, 10 mg of cantharidin can kill a human. This spur-winged goose is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.
Book your Uganda birding trip with Africa Adventure Vacations to spot Spur-winged goose and several bird species.