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Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)

It is a unique, weirdly-patterned goose, but more closely linked to the shelducks. It has a conspicuous dark eye patch on each eye and a brown body. Pairs or family groups are often seen swimming in a variety of wetland habitats, and grazing on shore. Considered sacred by the Ancient Egyptians and used in their artworks, the bird is no longer common in the country from which it got its name.

Read further to know more about the Egyptian Goose.

What is an Egyptian Goose?

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca) is a bird species belonging to the family Anatidae, which includes ducks, geese, and swans. It is native in sub-Saharan Africa and the Nile Valley in Egypt. These geese are extremely popular and were introduced as an ornamental wildfowl species in many regions, such as Europe, New Zealand, and the United States. The escapees have established populations, breeding in feral states.

Its seven levels of classification are as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class:  Aves

Order: Anseriformes

Family: Anatidae

Genus: Alopochen

Species: A. aegyptiaca

Egyptian Goose Physical Description

Egyptian Goose is a large waterbird, growing from 24.8 to 28.7 inches, weighing around 1.5 to 2.3 kilograms, with a wingspan of 14. 9 or 38 centimeters on average.

These birds have a pink bill, long neck, slender pink legs, and a conspicuous dark chocolate-brown eye patch on each eye. The upperwings and the head are brown, while the rest of the body is subtler brown. A brown patch also occurs in the middle of the chest. Meanwhile, the underside of the wings appears to be white and green. Both sexes are similar, but females are relatively smaller, and dark streaks appear on their beak. They can be distinguished apart through the sound they produce as males make strong, raspy hiss while the females create a harsh, cackling sound. Juveniles and immature birds sport a duller plumage, but dark necks, and yellowish bill and legs.

Where can they be spotted?

Egyptian geese are common and widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, thriving in many wetland habitats, such as dams, marshes, rivers, lakes, streams, estuaries, reservoirs, ponds, and sewage works, but absent in forests and deserts. These birds prefer bodies of water close to agricultural fields, meadows, and grasslands, where they graze.

Interesting Facts You Should Know About the Egyptian Goose

Egyptian geese are omnivorous birds, feeding mainly on seeds, grass, leaves, and stems, as well as potatoes, grains, and vegetables. Occasionally, they may also eat locusts, worms and other small animals. Goslings consume small aquatic invertebrates, such as planktons, until they are powerful enough to graze and eat larger food items.

These geese aggregate in small groups for protection. During their breeding period, they may pair up or still be seen within the flock. They are generally resident, but may perform necessary movements within its range should the water supply become short. While they are incredible swimmers, most of their days are spent on land grazing food.

Egyptian geese are monogamous and will form life-long bonds with their partners. Male Egyptian Geese tend to be aggressive during mating. They perform noisy courtship displays, characterized by booming honking sounds to attract the females.

Breeding season happens in spring or at the end of the dry season. Nest are built on the ground, surrounded by vegetation, or in a tree, ledge, or abandoned nest of other species. The female Egyptian Geese lays a clutch og 5 to 11 eggs, which she will incubate for about 28 to 30 days. Both parents tend and feed the broods, which eventually fledge at 60 to 75 days. They will remain under parental care for about another four months and attain sexual maturity at two years old.

Egyptian geese are common and widespread throughout its range. However, they are often persecuted through poisoning or shooting as they are deemed to be agricultural pests. They are currently listed as Least Concern (LC) under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species but their number appears to be declining.

WILDLIFE PARKS AND RESERVES WHERE THIS SPECIES IS FOUND:

BOTSWANA

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Chobe National Park

Linyanti Swamp

Makgadikgadi Pan

Mashatu Game Reserve

Okavango Delta

Moremi Game Reserve

Savute

SOUTH AFRICA

Addo Elephant National Park

Cape Peninsula National Park

Hluhluwe Game Reserves

Kalahari Gemsbok National Park

Knysna Lagoon

Kruger National Park

Madikwe Game Reserve

St Lucia Wetlands

NAMIBIA

Caprivi Region

Damaraland

Etosha National Park

Namib-Naukluft National Park

Skeleton Coast

ZAMBIA

Kafue

Lechwe Plains

Lower Zambezi

South Luangwa

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

ZIMBABWE

Gona-re-Zhou

Hwange

Lake Kariba

Mana Pools

Matobo Hills

Victoria Falls

Egyptian Goose
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