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Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca, Nilgås

The Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca), called Nilgås in Skåne, is a member of the duck, goose, and swan family Anatidae. It is native to Africa south of the Sahara and the Nile Valley.

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.

Because of their popularity chiefly as an ornamental bird, escapees are common and small feral populations have become established in Western Europe. The Egyptian goose has escaped or been deliberately released in to Florida, USA. However Egyptian geese are also now present in many parts of Central and Southeastern Texas with more than 100 sightings just in 1Q 2018 as reported in ebird.org database.

Distribution
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. While not breeding, it disperses somewhat, sometimes making longer migrations northwards into arid regions of the Sahel.

It has also been introduced elsewhere: Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, and Germany have self-sustaining populations which are mostly derived from escaped ornamental birds. Escapes have also bred on occasion in other places, such as Texas, Florida and New Zealand.

The British population dates back to the 18th century, though only formally added to the British list in 1971. In Britain, it is found mainly in East Anglia, where it breeds at sites with open water, short grass and suitable nesting locations (either islands, holes in old trees or amongst epicormic shoots on old trees).

During the winter they are widely dispersed within river valleys where they feed on short grass and cereals. It was officially declared a pest in the United Kingdom in 2009.

Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca, Nilgås

Range map from Ornithological Portal Oiseaux.net
Range map from www.oiseaux.net - Ornithological Portal Oiseaux.net
www.oiseaux.net is one of those MUST visit pages if you're in to bird watching. You can find just about everything there


Taxonomy
The Egyptian goose is believed to be most closely related to the shelducks (genus Tadorna) and their relatives, and is placed with them in the subfamily Tadorninae. It is the only extant member of the genus Alopochen, which also contains closely related prehistoric and recently extinct species. mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data suggest that the relationships of Alopochen to Tadorna need further investigation.

The generic name is based on Greek ἀλώπηξ (alōpēx), "fox", and χήν (chēn) "goose", referring to the ruddy colour of its back. The species name aegyptius is from the Latin Aegyptius, "Egyptian".

Description
It swims well, and in flight looks heavy, more like a goose than a duck, hence the English name. It is 63–73 cm long.

The sexes of this species are identical in plumage but the males average slightly larger. 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.

A large part of the wings of mature birds is white, but in repose the white 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 voices and vocalisations of the sexes differ, the male having 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.

Listen to the Egyptian goose / Nilgås

www.xeno-canto.org

Remarks from the Recordist

A male and female with a bunch of goslings walking around on a lawn next to a dam. One bird gave the honking call, the other the hiss.



Behaviour
This is a largely terrestrial species, which will also perch readily on trees and buildings. Egyptian geese typically eat seeds, leaves, grasses, and plant stems. Occasionally, they will eat locusts, worms, or other small animals.

Male or female on guard while the rest of the family is feeding
Kiel Canal - August 2018
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.

Neighbouring pairs may even kill another's offspring for their own offsprings' survival as well as for more resources.

This species will nest in a large variety of situations, especially in holes in mature trees in parkland. 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.

Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca, Nilgås
Male or female on guard while the rest of the family is feeding
Kiel Canal - August 2018

Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca, Nilgås
Young Egyptian Gooses feeding with one of the
parent while the other parent are on guard
Kiel Canal - August 2018

Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca, Nilgås
Young Egyptian Gooses feeding
Kiel Canal - August 2018


Listen to the Egyptian goose / Nilgås

Remarks from the Recordist

Recorded with my ZOOM H5 Handyrecorder. Audacity High Pass Filter applied

At Breiholz ferry ferry in the Kiel Canal, a family of Egyptian Gooses are feeding on sea weed while one of the parents is on guard. When I approach the “guard” gives an alarm call and goes down to the rest of the family and they swim away.


www.xeno-canto.org


Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca, Nilgås
The whole family leaves
Kiel Canal - August 2018


Conservation status
Crimson-breasted shrike, Laniarius atrococcineus
Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2.
International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

www.birdforum.net


Sighted: (Date of first photo that I could use) 30 July 2018
Location: Nübbel, Kiel Canal


Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca, Nilgås
Egyptian goose / Nilgås - 30 July 2018 - Nübbel, Kiel Canal

Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca, Nilgås
Egyptian goose / Nilgås - 30 July 2018 - Nübbel, Kiel Canal

Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca, Nilgås
Egyptian goose / Nilgås - 30 July 2018 - Nübbel, Kiel Canal

Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca, Nilgås
Egyptian goose / Nilgås - 30 July 2018 - Nübbel, Kiel Canal

Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca, Nilgås
Egyptian goose / Nilgås - 30 July 2018 - Nübbel, Kiel Canal



PLEASE! If I have made any mistakes identifying any bird, PLEASE let me know on my guestbook



       
                  



                                       

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