Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca, Linnaeus, 1766)
Photo by Guillaume Réthoré
Origin: Africa (South of Sahara and Nile Valley)
Size: 68 to 78 cm long
The Egyptian Goose it is a large aquatic bird (larger than a duck). The plumage is greyish-brown with a distinctive broad brown band around the eye, the wings are reddish-brown with white panels (usually not visible), and the legs are pinkish. Males and females are alike, but males are usually slightly larger.
This species is native from Africa, occurs mainly in the South of Sahara and Nile Valley. Inhabits a wide range of freshwater areas, like dams, reservoirs, lakes, rivers, marshes and estuaries, it is absent from dense forests and deserts. It is a sedentary bird but can make seasonal movements related to water availability. The breeding season varies geographically and does not depend on rainfall patterns. The diet consists of vegetable matter: seeds, leaves and stems of grasses.
In XVIII century, the Egyptian Goose was introduced in Great Britain and nowadays is naturalized with self-sustained populations; as well, non-native populations have established in other parts of the world: The Netherlands (breeding since 1967), Belgium, Germany, New Zealand and some parts of USA. In Portugal this species has been seen frequently and it’s expanding, especially in the Alentejo Region.
The Egyptian Goose has proved to be successful has a non-native species; large groups can cause physical damage to habitats through grazing and can compete for food and territory with other native species. Since 2017, this species is listed in the List of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern and subject of restrictions and measures; the restrictions include importing, keeping, selling, breeding and growing.