Birds – Semi-palmated Goose

We now pass to the consideration of the Geese, not, however, the more typical members, but first a few of the so-called outliers, beginning with the Semi-palmated Goose (Anseranas semipalmata) of Australia, which stands as the sole representative of a subfamily (Anseranatinae). As the name implies, this bird has the toes only slightly webbed at the base, and in addition the hind toe is very long and on the same plane as the front ones. The plumage presents a pied but decidedly elegant appearance, the head, neck, mantle, wings, tail, and thighs being black, and the back, breast, abdomen, tail-coverts, and smaller wing-coverts white. The total length is about thirty-five inches. The habits of this Goose are peculiar in that it is not nearly so aquatic as most others, rarely visiting water, it is said, but spending hours perched ‘ on trees, for which its partially webbed feet especially adapt it. Its walk, too, is quite un-Goose-like, resembling the stately tread of a typical wader, such as a Crane or Heron. Its cry is described as a loud, coarse whistling. The Semi-palmated Goose was formerly very abundant in the southern part of Australia, but advancing civilization has thrust it farther and farther back. It is readily domesticated.