Abyssinian Blue-Winged Goose

Abyssinian Blue-Winged Goose

Scientific Classification

Common Name
Abyssinian blue-winged goose
Genus Species
Cyanochen (dark blue goose) cyanopterus (dark blue feathers)

Fast Facts

The Abyssinian blue-winged goose is a tall bird with a brown body. These birds are lighter brown around the head and breast regions and darker brown on wings and back. The upper wing converts are powder blue. g converts are powder blue.
Approximately 60 to 75 cm (24 to 30 inches) tall; wingspan 32.5 to 37.5 cm (13 to 15 inches)
Approximately 1.52 kg (3.3 lbs.)
These birds are primarily herbivorous, grazing on grasses, sedges and other herbaceous vegetation. However it is also reported to take worms, insects, insect larvae, freshwater mollusks and even small reptiles.
30 to 35 days
Clutch Size
4 to 7 eggs
Sexual Maturity
Approximately 2 years
Life Span
No data
The Abyssinian Blue-Winged Goose is endemic to the highlands of Ethiopia and remains locally common and widespread.
The species occurs on the banks of highland rivers and lakes with adjacent meadows of short grass. It also inhabits the edges of highland lakes, marshes, bog pools, swamps and streams with abundant grassland surroundings. It is rarely found in overgrown areas and does not venture into deep water.
The total population is estimated in the range of 5,000 to 15,000 individuals. However, it is thought to be declining as suitable breeding habitats are lost., The number of mature individuals may in fact be in the range of 3,000 to 7,000.
IUCN: Vulnerable
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Lower risk/near threatened

Fun Facts

Abyssinia was the historical name for Ethiopia.

During courtship, the male struts around the female, his head bent over his back, and his bill pointed skywards or behind him. Such posture exposes his blue wing patch. He communicates with the female with a barely audible whistle "wnee-whu-whu-whu-whu-whu-whu-whu".

Local religious beliefs have historically protected this bird from hunting.

The Abyssinian Blue-Winged Goose's closest relative is believed to be the Andean Goose.

It is believed that the Abyssinian blue-winged goose's closest relative is the Andean goose.

Ecology and Conservation

These birds are nocturnal, which perhaps explains why so little is known about the species.

Due to their limited range, the population is especially vulnerable to human disturbance and habitat loss.

Their population is declining due to the drainage and degradation of its highland wetland habitat, and potentially the more recent threat posed by hunting.

Large waterfowl like the Abyssinian blue-winged goose are essential to the balance of the ecosystem, by keep bodies of water clear by keeping aquatic plants in check as well as being a prey item for larger carnivores.


Scott, P. A Colored Key of the Wildfowl of the World. Slimbridge, England. The Wildfowl Trust. 1988.

Todd, F.S. Natural History of Waterfowl. San Diego, Ca. Ibis Publishing Co., 1996.


BirdLife International Species factsheet: Cyanochen cyanopteraThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22679961A92836351. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22679961A92836351.en. Downloaded on 21 November 2018.