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Magpie Goose (Anseranas semipalmata) Fact Sheet: Managed Care

History of Managed Care

Zoos, general

  • 1851: First Magpie Goose transported to Europe (Delacour 1954)
  • 1855: London Zoo acquires Magpie Geese (Delacour 1954)
  • Historically, did not breed well in managed care settings (Johnsgard 1961)
    • Bred in Normandy, France (Delacour collection) and Cleres, France
    • Bred at Taronga Zoo since 1963 (Kear 1973)
    • First bred at Wildfowl Trust in 1956 (Johnstone 1957)

San Diego Zoo and Safari Park

  • 1925: Magpie Geese arrive at the San Diego Zoo, as part of a large shipment of animals from Australia (Stephenson 2015)
  • 1945: San Diego Zoo was the first zoo to successfully breed Magpie Geese (Delacour 1954; Kear 1973)
    • 1945: Three goslings survived to maturity (Stott 1946)
      • Reared by parents (Todd 1979)
    • 1946: One gosling hand-reared (Todd 1979)
  • Other historical notes
    • 1941: Two adult Magpie Geese added to collection (Stott 1946)
    • 1951: Female acquired (Todd 1979)
    • 1966: Another female acquired (Todd 1979)
    • 1978: Pair imported from Australia (Todd 1979)
      • Two goslings hatched via incubator

Husbandry at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

(Suzy Carey, personal communication, 2018, except as noted)


  • Often kept in small groups

Shelters and enclosures

  • Soft substrates
    • Sod
    • Mulch
    • Grasses
    • Sand
  • Pool of water
  • Branches and bushes to hide in
  • Heating sources needed in severe weather (Kear 1973)
    • Long toes can become frost-bitten


  • Waterfowl pellet feed
  • Millet
  • Lettuce
  • Mealworms and crickets


  • Similar social dynamics to breeding groups in the wild (Kear 1973)
    • Relationships develop over up to a few years
  • Timing of reproduction is flexible (Kear 1973)
  • Breeding can occurs over an extended period (Kear 1973)
  • Nests placed over water, on the tops of shrubs, on hedges, or sometimes, in trees (Kear 1973; Johnsgard 1978)
    • Use twigs, leafy branches, and straw

Enrichment and training

  • Hidden food items (e.g., insects)
  • Lettuce hanging

First Breeding

Magpie Goose at the San Diego Zoo

In 1945, the San Diego Zoo became the first zoo in the world to successfully breed Magpie Geese.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

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