Harteman Wildfowl, presented by Jan Harteman

Egyptian goose

Alopochen aegyptiacus 

Nijlgans / Nilgans / Oie d'Egypte

 

The Egyptian Goose is a member of the  family Anatidae (ducks, geese and swans) and the only member of the genus Alopochen. Its closest relatives are  the shelducks (genus Tadorna), and is placed with them in the subfamily Tadorninae.  It is native to Africa south of the Saharaand 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 ornamental bird, escapes are common and small feral populations have become established in Western Europe.

 

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern (IUCN, 2012).

 

The species is persecuted by shooting and poisoning in parts of its range (it is regarded as an agricultural pest) (Kear 2005a). The species is also hunted for sport (del Hoyo et al. 1992) although not in large numbers (Kear 2005a).

 

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.

 

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Above: adult pair of Egyptian geese

 

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Above: adult pair of Egyptian geese, male right

 

Above: feral Egyptian geese in the Netherlands gathering together

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