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Egyptian Goose
(Alopochen aegyptiacus)

Egyptian Goose

General description

The sexes of this species are identical in plumage but the males average slightly larger with a thicker neck and different call.

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.

Legs are pink.

A large part of the wings of mature birds is white but this is hidden by the wing coverts. When it is aroused, either in alarm or aggression, the white begins to show.

In flight or when the wings are fully spread in aggression, the white is conspicuous.

The male has a hoarse, subdued duck-like quack which seldom sounds unless it is aroused. 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.

Name & classification

Scientific name:
Alopochen aegyptiacus

Common names:
Egyptian Goose (English)
Kolgans (Afrikaans)

Roberts VII english name:
Egyptian Goose

Roberts VII scientific name:
Alopochen aegyptiacus

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Further information



Egyptian geese typically eat seeds, leaves, grasses, and plant stems. Occasionally, they will eat locusts, worms, or other small animals.

This is a largely terrestrial species, which will also perch readily on trees and buildings.

Both sexes are aggressively territorial towards their own species when breeding and frequently pursue intruders into the air, attacking them in aerial "dogfights". Egyptian geese have been observed attacking aerial objects such as drones that enter their habitat as well.

Egyptian Geese will nest in a large variety of situations, especially in holes in mature trees in parkland, but also on the ground or in old stick nests from Hamerkops or Pied Crows. The female builds the nest from reeds, leaves and grass, and both parents take turns incubating eggs.

Egyptian Geese usually pair for life. Both the male and female care for the offspring until they are old enough to care for themselves.

Natural distribution:
Egyptian Geese are native to Africa south of the Sahara and the Nile Valley.

Because of their popularity chiefly as ornamental bird, escapes are common and small feral populations have become established in Western Europe.

This species breeds widely in Africa except in deserts and dense forests, and is locally abundant. They are found mostly in the Nile Valley and south of the Sahara.

The Egyptian Goose is sometimes confused with the South African Shelduck, but its dark patches on the eye and breast differentiate it clearly.

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.

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