Wild Egyptian Geese
Egyptian geese live throughout Africa, mostly south of the Sahara and in the Nile Valley. They are quite handsome birds, with pink beaks and legs, grey-brown heads and undersides, grey and rust colored backs and wings, black tails, a rust brown patch on their chests, and a rust circular eye patch. Wetlands in open areas are their preferred habitat. Egyptian geese eat a variety of vegetation-grasses, stems, seeds, berries, and leaves- as well as the occasional insect or small animal. They travel in small, family unit flocks and pair up only during breeding season. Females usually lay 5-12 eggs. They measure 63–73 cm long, and females may be slightly smaller than males. It is difficult to distinguish between male and female geese because their plumage is identical, so researchers identify them by their sounds: the male’s voice is hoarse and raspy, and heard mostly when aroused, and the female’s is far noisier and frequent.
Egyptian geese were considered scared by ancient Egyptians, and appear in much of their artwork. They are better swimmers than flyers, based on body shape and terrestrial behavior. In the wild, lifespans tend to be around 15 years, but in captivity they are estimated to live up to 35 years.