Egyptian Goose

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Alopochen aegyptiacus

  • SWAHILI NAME: Bata

The Egyptian goose figured prominently in ancient civilizations. It was considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians, who believed that the geese were messengers between earth and heaven, and Greeks and Romans raised them for food. In modern times, this cross between a goose and a duck is cherished as an ornamental bird by wildfowl fanciers throughout the world.

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

Type

Bird

Daily Rhythm

Diurnal

Diet

Omnivorous

Life span

In the wild: about 15 years
In captivity: 35 years, maximum

Conservation Status

Lower risk

Size

24.0 to 29.5 in (61 to 75 cm) long

Egyptian Goose

Listen to the sounds of the Egyptian Goose

Trivia Question

What did ancient Egyptians believe about the Egyptian goose?

Correct!

Ancient Egyptians believed the Egyptian goose was a messenger between heaven and Earth, and as such they considered it sacred.

Tracks

Tracks: Webbed feet turn inward, creating a "pigeon-toed" appearance to the tracks

Egyptian Goose tracks

Social Structure

Egyptian geese live in family groups within a flock. The male is slightly larger than the female. They form monogamous bonds.

Communication

The male Egyptian goose proclaims his presence with high-pitched honks, often in unison with a female, whose call is more of a growl. When upset, males hiss, and females make a crackling sound.

Behavior

Egyptian geese live in flocks, pairing up with lifelong mates during breeding season. They can be extremely aggressive toward other birds, including their own kind.

Diet

Egyptian geese graze on grass, leaves, seeds, grain, and aquatic plants, varying their diet with locusts, worms, and other small animals. They often invade cultivated fields, especially in the dry season.

Breeding

Egyptian geese mature sexually when they are about two years old. They mate for life and breed year-around, although they prefer spring and the end of dry seasons. They build nests in trees, along ledges, on the ground, or in burrows, always lining them with downy feathers.

Population in Kenya

These geese are found throughout Kenya and regularly frequent Mpala’s hippo pool.

Range & Habitat

Egyptian geese are found throughout Africa south of the Sahara. They prefer inland waters and marshes. A large population occupies Kruger National Park in South Africa. They also flourish outside their native Africa, including in Western Europe and Florida, in the United States.

Did you know?

Because males and females look alike, Egyptian geese are sometimes identified by their calls: a raspy hiss from the male; a hook-haah-haah-haah from the female.