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Know your birds-Egyptian Goose- iLongwe
Although the Egyptian Goose is a member of the
waterfowl, the secret of its success is that it is
equally at home away from water.
THE Egyptian Goose is a common and widespread resident in eThekwini and breeds throughout the metro area. This ubiquity is a fairly recent phenomenon and prior to the 1970s this bird was only a scarce, nonbreeding visitor to our region.

Most waterfowl are associated with wetland haunts, but the secret of the Egyptian Goose’s success is its ability to thrive away from water. Like other ducks and geese, it annually sheds all its flight feathers simultaneously, rendering it flightless for several weeks. It must take refuge on large expanses of open water while these feathers are regrown but otherwise this goose is largely emancipated from reliance on wetland habitats.

The Egyptian Goose is a large and robust member of its family. The broad, flattened beak typical of all ducks and geese has a mottled fleshy colour. There is a distinctive brownish patch surrounding the eye. The back is a rich chestnut brown and the underparts are finely barred throughout although this is only discernable at close range.

In flight this goose shows striking white wing panels and shiny, emerald-green inner flight feathers. The white wing panel can also be displayed with startling effect during territorial encounters with others of its kind – a frequent occurrence as the Egyptian Goose is quite an aggressive character. It can also be a very noisy bird at times, drawing attention to itself with strident honking calls uttered from the ground or while flying. The beak is used for cropping its vegetarian diet.

The ability of this goose to feed on lawn grass, for example at parks and golf courses, and on agricultural crops has been greatly to its benefit. This allows it to prosper in human-altered environments like cities and farmlands, although its presence in large numbers at city golf-courses is not always welcome. The Egyptian Goose’s original home is throughout most of Africa as far north as Egypt, the country after which it was originally named but it is no longer as common in that country as it once was.

This goose is quite regularly kept in captivity including by overseas bird-keepers. The Durban Natural
Science Museum, situated in the City Hall, has several mounted specimens of Egyptian Goose on display in the public galleries.
WEATHER

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