egyptian goose 1Scientific Name-Alopochen aegyptiacus

Conservation Status- Least Concern

Appearance

The Egyptian goose measures 63-73cm in length. The wingspan of an Egyptian goose is 134-154cm. An average weight for one of these geese is 1.1-1.4kg. They are a pale buff colour on their chest, the back has brown, dark orange, black and white feathers. The beak is pink on the top and the underside is black. Around the eyes is a chocolate colour patch. Chicks have brown and white fluffy feathers.

Lifespan

Wild Egyptian geese generally live to about 15 years of age. Egyptian geese residing in zoos have been known to live up to 35.

Diet

Egyptian geese feed on a range of vegetation. These include grasses, stems, berries and seeds as well as a range of other plants. Algae and aquatic plants also form a portion of their diet. At times they have also been known to feed on insects and some small animals.

Habitat

Egyptian-goose-2The Egyptian goose is spread through the majority of Africa. They mostly occur in the south and the East. One of the largest populations is in the Sahara in Egypt.  They prefer an open, wetland area to live in though they will live in pretty much every habitat. The only habitats which they avoid are deserts and densely forested areas.

Many introduced populations also exsist. These can be found in Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and the USA. Populations have also been reported in New Zealand.

Reproduction

The Egyptian goose achieves maturity at 2 years of age. They have a variable breeding season which depends on location. Generally it is the end of spring or the end of the dry season. The Egyptian geese pair will build a nest from reeds, leaves and grass. This is then lined with down. This nest may be built on an embankment, cliffs, buildings, caves and a range of other spaces. These geese have also been known to take the nest of another bird.

The parents are fiercely territorial of the nest and may kill other pair’s chicks to gain resources for theirs. The clutch of eggs is generally 5-12 eggs which are a creamy white colour. These eggs are incubated for 28-30 days with both parents taking turns at sitting on the nest. The chicks fledge at 60-75 days old.

Behaviour

The Egyptian goose lives in a small family flock for the year. They come together in groups for the breeding season. Mostly non-migratory these birds will generally only move about if there is a shortage of water in their area. While adept at swimming these birds will generally spend most of their time on land. Males emit a raspy hiss when threatened. Females let out a loud cackle. These sounds are what researchers use to determine the sex of these animals.

Quick facts

The Egyptians believe these geese were sacred. As such they regularly featured in their artworks.