email a friend
printable version
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Taxonomic note
Gender agreement of species name follows David and Gosselin (2002b).

Alopochen aegyptiacus Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), Alopochen aegyptiacus BirdLife International (2004), Alopochen aegyptiacus Dowsett and Forbes-Watson (1993), Alopochen aegyptiacus Cramp and Simmons (1977-1994)

Trend justification
The overall trend is decreasing, although some populations may be stable (Wetlands International 2006).

Behaviour This species is largely sedentary over much of its range (del Hoyo et al. 1992), although it may make seasonal nomadic or dispersive movements related to water availability (Brown et al. 1982, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kear 2005a). It also undertakes annual post-breeding moult migrations to favoured waters (Kear 2005a). The timing of the breeding season in this solitary nester varies geographically, with pairs in some regions nesting in the spring or at the end of the dry season (del Hoyo et al. 1992), whereas nesting in other areas, such as southern Africa, peaks in the middle of winter and does not necessarily correspond with local rainfall patterns (G. Cumming in litt. 2011). Outside of the breeding season the species may occur in flocks consisting of hundreds or thousands of individuals (e.g. during moult), although it is most common in pairs or small groups (Kear 2005a). It forages diurnally (Kear 2005a), mostly in the morning and evening (Johnsgard 1978). Habitat The species inhabits a wide range of freshwater wetlands in open country from sea level up to 4,000 m (Ethiopia) (Madge and Burn 1988, del Hoyo et al. 1992), including reservoirs, dams, pans, lakes, large ponds, rivers, marshes, sewage works, estuaries and offshore islands (Kear 2005a) (although it is generally absent from coastal regions) (Brown et al. 1982). It shows a preference for water-bodies with open shorelines and rich plant growth in close proximity to meadows, grassland and arable land for grazing (del Hoyo et al. 1992), generally avoiding densely forested areas (Madge and Burn 1988, del Hoyo et al. 1992). Diet Its diet consists predominantly of vegetable matter such as the seeds, leaves and stems of grasses and other terrestrial plants, crop shoots (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kear 2005a) (e.g. maize, wheat, oats, lucerne, groundnuts and barley) (Kear 2005a), potato tubers (del Hoyo et al. 1992), algae and aquatic weeds (Kear 2005a), as well as some animal matter (worms, locusts (del Hoyo et al. 1992) and termite alates (Kear 2005a)). Breeding site The nest is a shallow depression (Brown et al. 1982) in plant matter (Brown et al. 1982, del Hoyo et al. 1992) usually placed not far from water (Madge and Burn 1988). Nest sites are highly variable (Madge and Burn 1988) but include dense vegetation on the ground (Brown et al. 1982, Madge and Burn 1988, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kear 2005a), reedy vegetation near water, the ground under bushes or trees (Kear 2005a), burrows in embankments (Brown et al. 1982), holes and cavities in trees (del Hoyo et al. 1992), cliff ledges and rural buildings, caves (Kear 2005a), and the abandoned nests of other large bird species (Madge and Burn 1988, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kear 2005a) up to 60 m above the ground (Brown et al. 1982).

The species is persecuted by shooting and poisoning in parts of its range (it is regarded as an agricultural pest) (Kear 2005a). Utilisation The species is also hunted for sport (del Hoyo et al. 1992) although not in large numbers (Kear 2005a).

Brown, L. H.; Urban, E. K.; Newman, K. 1982. The birds of Africa vol I. Academic Press, London.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A.; Sargatal, J. 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Johnsgard, P. A. 1978. Ducks, geese and swans of the World. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London.

Kear, J. 2005. Ducks, geese and swans volume 1: general chapters; species accounts (Anhima to Salvadorina). Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K.

Madge, S.; Burn, H. 1988. Wildfowl. Christopher Helm, London.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Taylor, J., Malpas, L.

Cumming, G.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Alopochen aegyptiaca. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, Swans)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1766)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 17,500,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change