Wednesday, 11 November 2015


With a UK population of about 1100 pairs, the Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca) is not all that familiar, but with a little effort, or luck, they can be found dotted around the south-eastern quarter the country. We are sometimes lucky enough to find a couple of these beautiful wildfowl on our local lakes - situated as we are at the north-western limit of their UK distribution -  and this morning was one of those occasions.
A pair had arrived to spend some time on the lake at Straw's Bridge and were quite happy mingling with the usual ducks, geese and swans.
A native of Africa - from Egypt southwards, as the name suggests - they were introduced to the UK in the late eighteenth century as an ornamental species on private lakes and avian collections.
Considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians, they are small, neat geese with various colourful splashes on their wings and conspicuous pink legs.
Their diet consists mainly of vegetation including cultivated crops, but these were happy cropping the grass at the side of the lake.
A beautiful and somewhat exotic addition to the bird-life of Straw's Bridge and a source of wonder to the local Coots!
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