The Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) is a member of the duck, goose and swan family Anatidae. It is in the shelduck subfamily Tadorninae, and is the only extant member of the genus Alopochen. mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data suggest that the relationships of Alopochen to Tadorna need further investigation (Sraml et al. 1996). Two or three species of Alopochen from the Madagascar region have become extinct in the last 1000 years or so: Mauritian Shelduck, Alopochen mauritianus – Mauritius, late 1690s. Malagasy Shelduck or Madagascar Shelduck, Alopochen sirabensis (may be subspecies of A. mauritianus) – Madagascar, prehistoric: see Late Quaternary prehistoric birds Reunion Shelduck or Kervazo’s Egyptian Goose, Alopochen kervazoi – Reunion, c.1690s.
Distinguishing between males and females can be a challenge. The females are smaller than the males, but otherwise both sexes look alike. One way to tell them apart is by their sound. Males make a raspy hiss, while females produce a cackling sound. Although they are not terribly vocal, when they are feeling aggressive or stressed they will make a great deal of noise.
These geese stay together in small flocks throughout the year, mainly for protection. Egyptian geese pair up during the breeding season, but otherwise they remain in their flocks. Although they are mainly sedentary, they move to another body of water if a period of drought occurs in their current home range. They may wander from the water during the day in search of food in either the grasslands or agricultural fields. They always return to the water at night.
Listen to the sound of Egyptian Goose
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
|wingspan min.:||130||cm||wingspan max.:||145||cm|
|size min.:||63||cm||size max.:||73||cm|
|incubation min.:||28||days||incubation max.:||30||days|
|fledging min.:||70||days||fledging max.:||30||days|
Egyptian geese breed in the spring or at the end of the dry season (The breeding season is anywhere from July to March, depending on the area). At the age of two, Alopochen aeygptiacus reach sexual maturity. Nest locations are usually near water for safety and near grassland for feeding; the nests are made out of feathers and vegetation and are located in dense vegetation, holes, or simply on the ground. Pairs sometimes find nests on the ground or use deserted nests of other larger bird species (such as Buteo buteo (common buzzard) or Pica pica (black-billed magpie)), which can be located in trees or on high ledges. The male goose fertilizes the female internally. Five to twelve eggs are laid, and they are incubated for 28 to 30 days. The young fledge in 70 days. Incubation lasts from 28 to 30 days and is done by both parents. The father protects the eggs and chicks, while the mother guides them and keeps them close to her.
Video Egyptian Goose
copyright: J. del Hoyo
Alopochen aegyptiaca is widely distributed throughout its native range, Africa, and southern Europe. It is especially common in southern Africa, below the Sahara and in the Nile Valley. In the 18th century, Alopochen aegyptiaca was introduced into Great Britain, and a substantial population still thrives there today. Currently Alopochen aegyptiaca is colonizing the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
Introduced 18th century in West Europe, the range of feral (returned to wild) population has increased in recent years. Breeds ferally also in Netherlands since 1970s and Belgium since 1982, with a few pairs in France and Germany. Birds seen sporadically elsewhere in Europe also regarded as of captive origin, though some older southern records perhaps wild birds, as former breeding range uncertain. Occasional records in Israel, where perhaps bred formerly. Formerly scarce winter visitor to Cyprus, and has occasionally wintered Tunisia and Algeria.