P. g. gambensis(Linnaeus, 1766)
P. g. niger (Sclater, 1877)
The Spur-winged Goose (Plectropterus gambensis) is a large 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.
Adults are 75–115 cm (30–45 in) long and weigh on average 4–6.8 kg (8.8–15 lb), rarely up to 10 kg (22 lb), with males noticeably larger than the females.The wingspan can range from 150 to 200 cm (59 to 79 in). They are the largest African waterfowl and are, on average, the world's largest wild "goose". They are mainly black, with a white face and large white wing patches. The long legs are flesh-coloured. The nominate race P. g. gambensis has extensive white on the belly and flanks, but the smaller-bodied subspecies P. g. niger, which occurs south of the Zambezi River, has only a small white belly patch.
The male differs from the female, not only in size, but also in having a larger red facial patch extending back from the red bill, and a knob at the base of the upper mandible. This is a quiet species, but may give a thin whistle in flight.
The large nest is usually concealed in vegetation near water, but tree holes, other cavities, and old Hamerkop nests may be used. The spur on the bend of the wing may be used in disputes. This abundant and gregarious species feeds by grazing, but spends the middle part of the day resting by water.
The Spur-winged Goose is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.