Scientific name: Alopochen aegyptiaca
Status: Resident introduced population
Breeding birds: 1,100 pairs
Wintering birds: 3,400 birds
Conservation status: Introduced
Length: 71 – 73 cm
Wingspan: 135 – 155 cm
Weight: 1,5 – 2.25 kg
Egyptian geese have varied plumage but usually have dark brown upper parts with lighter brown scapulars. Their breasts and bellies are grey or dull yellow with a dark patch. They have white wings crossed by a narrow black line, black primaries, metallic green secondaries, and chestnut coloured tertials. Their rump and tail are black with cinnamon undertail coverts.
They have a buff-grey head with a. black line that starts from the bill and surrounds the eye in a broad dark band. There is a brown stripe that forms a fine collar on the lower neck towards the nape. Their eyes are brown, and their bill and legs are dark pink.
Both male and female Egyptian geese look similar but the male is larger than the female.
Juvenile Egyptian geese do not have the brown marks around their eyes or on their bellies. Their wings are duller and their bills and legs are dull yellow.
Egyptian geese start breeding in spring and pairs remain together for life. They build their nest on the ground sheltered in vegetation, in abandoned nests of other species in a tree, or on a ledge. The nest is made from roots, leaves, and grass, and lined with down from the female’s breast.
Egyptian geese lay 5-11 creamy white eggs which are incubated by the female alone for 28-30 days. Both parents feed and care for the chicks which fledge at about 60-75 days after hatching. They remain with the parents for several more weeks or months and reach sexual maturity at about 2 years.
Egyptian geese eat grass, seeds, leaves, and stems from various plants, as well as grain, potatoes, and other vegetables. It will also supplement its diet with worms.
Where to see them
Egyptian geese can be seen all year round in the UK. They are found on ornamental ponds, gravel pits, lowland lakes, and wetlands. The largest populations are on the north Norfolk coast.
Did you know?
Egyptian geese are actually ducks and are believed to be closely related to shelducks. t is the only extant member of the genus Alopochen which also contains prehistoric species and the relatively recently extinct Madagascar shelduck and Mauritius sheldgoose.