Taxonomy

Alopochen aegyptiacus | Egyptian Goose | Gé Éigipteach

Distribution

Status

Legal status

Regulated Invasive Alien Species  of Union concern under the European Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species [1143/2014].

Invasiveness

Invasive species - risk of Medium Impact

Introduction pathways - 1

Unaided

Introduction pathways subclass - 1

Natural dispersal across borders of invasive aliens

Introduction pathways - 2

Escape from Confinement

Introduction pathways subclass - 2

Botanical garden/zoo/aquaria

Invasive score

16

NAPRA Ireland risk assessed

No

Species Biology

Identification

Pale brown goose with pink legs and bill and dinstinctive darker reddish eye patches. Wings are broad and have extensive white patch across the underwing (Marchant, 2008). A white flash and a green flash can be seen on folded wings. Body length 63-73cm (NNSS, undated). Male and female plumage is identical. Calls are loud and 'braying' (Marchant, 2008).

Ecology

Grazer of grasses, arable crops and aquatic plants. Favour areas with open water, short grass and suitable nesting sites (Sutherland and Allport, 1991). The UK population is present all year round and is currently expanding (NNSS, 2011). Flock size can be up to 50 birds (Sutherland and Allport, 1991). Large numbers of these birds may damage habitats by trampling, overgrazing and eutrophication of waters by the quantity of droppings (Banks et al., 2008). In their native range they compete with smaller birds, such as ducks and coots (Fulica atra) for food and territory (Marchant, 2008). Marchant also suggests they may compete with hole-nesting birds such as Barn owls (Tyto alba) for nest holes. Have been observed hybridizing with mallard (Anas platyrhynchas), ruddy shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), Canada goose (Bronta canadensis) and domestic geese (Marchant, 2008). Hybridization with native species may put their survival under threat. As with all fowl, Alopochen aegyptiacus can carry Salmonella and avian influenza (NNSS, 2011).

Habitat

Wetlands

Reproduction

Usually ground nesting such as on small islands or in reedbeds but will also nest in mature trees. Will also use large holes and the nests of other birds (Marchant, 2008). Prefer breeding sites with open water and short grass nearby for the chicks to graze (Sutherland and Allport, 1991). Creamy white eggs are laid in March/ April (Marchant, 2008). Usually 8-9 eggs in a clutch (NNSS, undated). Young follow the adults to the water within hours of hatching (Marchant, 2008).Juveniles stay with the adults for approximately 4 months (Sutherland & Allport, 1991).

Pathway and vector description

Was originally introduced to the UK as an ornamental. There have also been zoo escapes and some natural spread such as to France and Germany (Marchant, 2008). These free flying birds can readily travel across borders.

Mechanism of impact

Competition, Hybridisation, Disease transmission, Bio-fouling, Grazing/Herbivory/Browsing, Trampling

Management approach

Control is usually achieved by shooting or by destruction of eggs. This species gathers in large moulting flocks in June/July so culling would be a possibility. However, a complete cull would likely be unachievable and the remaining birds may be widely dispersed making their control difficult (NNSS, 2011). Both shooting and egg destruction are highly visible activities and may cause public controversy.

Broad environment

Terrestrial

Habitat description

Lakes, ponds, reservoirs, estuaries, wet woodland and meadowland (Marchant, 2008). Estates with parkland, ornamental ponds and large mature trees are ideal habitat as evidenced in the UK (Sutherland & Allport, 1991).

Species group

Vertebrate

Native region

Africa

Similar species

Bears a slight resemblance to Ruddy shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea). The Ruddy shelduck has black tips to its wings and tail, a dark bill and legs and lacks the distinctive eye patch of Alopochen aegyptiacus.

Distribution

World distribution(GBIF)

The largest population in Europe is found in the Netherlands (Gyimesi & Lensink, 2012). Also introduced in Asia and North America (Marchant, 2008).

Native distribution

Native mainly to sub-Saharan Africa.

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2021

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References

Publications

Banks, A.N., Wright, L.J., Maclean, I.M.D., Hann, C. & Rehfisch, M.M. (2008) Review of the status of introduced non-native waterbird species in the area of the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement: 2007 update. BTO Research Report No. 489, British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, UK. https://www.bto.org/sites/default/files/shared_documents/publications/research-reports/2009/rr489.pdf Site accessed 25 September 2017.

Gyimesi, A & Lensink, R (2012) Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca: an introduced species spreading in and from the Netherlands. Wildfowl 62: 128–145. https://wildfowl.wwt.org.uk/index.php/wildfowl/article/viewFile/1331/1333 Site accessed 25 September 2017.

Marchant, J (2008). Invasive Species Compendium. Datasheet report for Alopochen aegyptiaca (Egyptian goose). Wallingford, UK: CAB International. http://www.cabi.org Site accessed 25 September 2017.

Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS). (undated). Species Description – Egyptian Goose. Identification sheet. http://www.nonnativespecies.org/search.cfm Site accessed 25 September 2017.

Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS). (2011). Alopochen aegyptiacus Egyptian Goose. Risk Assessment (risk assessment prepared for Great Britain). https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/nonnativespecies/index.cfm?sectionid=51 Site accessed 25 September 2017.

Sutherland, WJ & Allport, G (1991) The distribution and ecology of naturalized Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiacus in Britain, Bird Study, 38:2, 128-134, DOI: 10.1080/00063659109477080 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00063659109477080 Site accessed 25 September 2017.

Animal Diversity Web

Invasive Species in Belgium

IUCN Red List

Additional comments

Established in the UK, with an expanding population, putting Ireland at risk of vagrants making their way here.

Images