Wildlife & Invasive Species Education™ (WISE) Species Profile: The Egyptian Goose

Common Name: Egyptian Goose

Status: Non-native species

Scientific Name: Alopochen aegyptiaca

Occurrence: Year-round resident throughout Florida

Egyptian goose patrolling the shoreline. Location: Brandon, Hillsborough County. Photo: Jim E. Davis

Identification: Egyptian Geese have dark, chestnut feathers on their back and a light beige chest. They also have rusty-orange and back tail feathers. Their head is whitish/beige and have a dark chestnut patch around their eyes, a brown patch on the breast, and a orange collar around their neck. Their legs and beak are dark pink in color, with their beak having a black tip. In flight, wing feathers are dark chestnut/iridescent green, having a large white patch. Juveniles lack the patch around the eye and light brown underparts. Egyptian Geese are fairly large, reaching almost 29” tall and weight 5 lbs. For size comparison, they are smaller than a swan, but larger than a Muscovy duck.

Description: You will not likely find these birds in natural areas. They prefer open fields and park like settings. They are found near freshwater, preferring areas with open shorelines.

Egyptian Geese pair up and form solid bonds. During mating and nesting, the males become very aggressive. The pair have a interesting courtship. They will face each other, spread their wings, and arch their necks and heads up in the air.
Nesting sites are usually on the ground, but can also nest on top of trees and on top of buildings. Clutch sizes are large, consisting between 5 to 11 eggs. The females lay one egg a day and then incubation begins and lasts 28-30 days. Egyptian geese fiercely protect their nests and territory. If intruders arrive, they are met with honking, hissing, and may even chase them away.

Although rather large, the travel distance of some Egyptian geese is impressive. In other parts of the world, they may travel from 40 miles to 500 miles to their new destination.

Egyptian goose feeding. Location: Brandon, Hillsborough County. Photo: Jim E. Davis

Diet: Egyptian Geese feed mainly on seeds, grass, and algae. Occasionally, they will feed on insects, frogs, and worms.

Economical Impacts: Egyptian Geese have been observed to cause significant damage in suburban areas, such as parks. Feeding damage and feces can be a major problem. The presence of abundant feces, increases the chances of spreading disease. The one goose to the right produced a tremendous amount of feces around a commercial building. Hard to imagine what 20 geese could do. Egyptian geese are aggressive, especially when mating or nesting. This behavior could negatively affect native wildlife.

Interesting Facts:

  • The Egyptian Goose was introduced as an ornamental species to parks in the Netherlands during the 20th century because of its exotic plumage. (A Gyimesi, R Lensink – Wildfowl, 2012 – wildfowl.wwt.org.uk)
  • A study on geese found that they prefer open areas to a woodland, most likely due to grazing on grass and low vegetation.
  • Egyptian Geese are native to the Sahara an Nile Valley of Africa.
  • Egyptian Geese are considered an invasive species in Arkansas.
  • The Egyptian Goose is technically a type of shelduck and not a goose at all!
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) states that Egyptian geese are an established species in Florida.

Cover Photo and Other Photo Credit: Jim E. Davis

Pictures may not be used unless receive written permission from Jim E. Davis.

Pictures must be used for educational purposes only.

References: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/egyptian-goose

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7518184/

https://wildfowl.wwt.org.uk/index.php/wildfowl/article/view/1331

https://www.agfc.com/en/news/2021/11/10/report-egyptian-goose-sightings/

Daniel KA and Loftie-Eaton M 2022. Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca. Bird Feeder Project. Biodiversity and Development Institute. Available Online at http://thebdi.org/2022/03/07/egyptian-goose-alopochen-aegyptiaca/

https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/birds/waterfowl/

 

 

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Posted: December 28, 2022


Category: Invasive Species, Natural Resources, UF/IFAS Extension, Wildlife



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