Egyptian Goose

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Common Name: Egyptian Goose
Scientific Name: Alopochen aegyptiacus

Size: 25-29 inches (63-73 cm); Wingspan: 73-98 inches (185-250 cm)

Habitat: Africa; found throughout Africa with the exception the Sahara Desert.

This species is largely sedentary over much of its range, although it may make seasonal nomadic or dispersive movements related to water availability.

The species inhabits a wide range of freshwater wetlands in open country from sea level up to 4,000 m (Ethiopia) including reservoirs, dams, pans, lakes, large ponds, rivers, marshes, sewage works, estuaries and offshore islands (although it is generally absent from coastal regions). It shows a preference for water-bodies with open shorelines and rich plant growth in close proximity to meadows, grassland and arable land for grazing generally avoiding densely forested areas.

Status: Least Concern. Global population: Unknown amount of adult individuals. The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations may be stable. The species is persecuted by shooting and poisoning in parts of its range where it is regarded as an agricultural pest.

Diet: Vegetable matter such as the seeds, leaves and stems of grasses and other terrestrial plants, crop shoots (e.g. maize, wheat, oats, lucerne, groundnuts and barley), potato tubers, algae and aquatic weeds, as well as some animal matter (worms, locusts and termite alates.

Nesting: Sexes are alike although the males average slightly larger. There is a fair amount of variation in plumage tone, with some birds greyer and others browner, but this is not sex or age related. A large part of the wings of mature birds is white, but in repose the white is hidden by the wing coverts. The voices and vocalizations of the sexes differ, the male having a hoarse, subdued duck-like quack which seldom sounds unless it is aroused.

Egyptian geese usually pair for life. The male Egyptian goose attracts its mate with an elaborate, noisy courtship display that includes honking, neck stretching and feather displays. The female has a far noisier raucous quack that frequently sounds in aggression and almost incessantly at the slightest disturbance when tending her young. Both sexes are aggressively territorial towards their own species when breeding and frequently pursue intruders into the air, attacking them in aerial "dogfights".

The nest is a shallow depression in plant usually placed not far from water. Nest sites are highly variable but include dense vegetation on the ground, reedy vegetation near water, the ground under bushes or trees, burrows in, holes and cavities in trees, cliff ledges and rural buildings, caves, and the abandoned nests of other large bird species up to 60 m above the ground. The female builds the nest from reeds, leaves and grass, and both parents take turns incubating eggs. Both the male and female care for the offspring until they are old enough to care for themselves

Cool Facts: Egyptian geese were considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians, and appeared in much of their artwork. They have been raised for food and extensively bred in parts of Africa since they were domesticated by the ancient Egyptians.

Found in Songbird Remix Waterfowl Volume 4: Geese, Loons, Grebes & Coots

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