Scientific name: Nettapus coromandelianus

Other names: Cotton Teal, White Pygmy Goose


  • Queensland: Least concern (NCA 1992

What does it look like?

Despite its name, the cotton pygmy goose is actually a small, surface-feeding duck. This bird has a goose-like bill and a white head, neck and underbelly. It is dark glossy green on top and has a narrow breast band. Females have a duller plumage, a dark eye-line stripe and white eyebrows. During the breeding season, males have a black band around the neck base.

The cotton pygmy goose uses large hollows in trees close to the water for nesting. Nests can be lined with grass, rubbish and feathers and clutch sizes range from 6 to 12 eggs. Nesting occurs between November and April. The female incubates and rears the ducklings with some support from the male. Males stay with the female and ducklings for a fortnight, while the female will stay for six months. This species has limited territorial displays, often co-existing peacefully with other nesting pairs in the same area. 

Where are they found?

In Australia, the cotton pygmy goose ranges along the eastern coast from NSW to QLD, with a small population in inland northern QLD near the QLD/NT border. These birds are usually found in water bodies containing water lilies and other aquatic vegetation, such as freshwater lakes, lagoons, swamps and dams.

What is threatening them?

  • Clearing and draining of lakes and wetlands
  • Introduced weeds
  • Heavy grazing of wetland areas
  • Removal of standing dead trees containing nest hollows
  • Use of chemicals near wetlands
  • Mining activities
  • Exotic grasses
  • Feral cats and foxes.


The cotton pygmy goose is protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. It is an offence to hurt or interfere with the cotton pygmy goose in any other way than when accepted by the Act.

Redland City Council manages environmental pests throughout the Redlands to minimise their impact on native ecosystems and birds such as the cotton pygmy goose.

Did you know...?

Cotton pygmy geese are considered a key wetland indicator in Queensland, especially in regards to the aquatic vegetation condition.

This bird predominantly feeds on seeds and vegetation, picking them from the water surface and sifting food through its bill.

How you can help

Refrain from using herbicides, insecticides and other chemicals near the wetlands and keep away from possible nesting sites.

If you have seen or suspect the Cotton Pygmy-goose at any location, please report it to IndigiScapes on  (07) 3824 8611.