Kingdoms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Anseriformes / Anatidae / Alopochen / Species
< >  Alopochen aegyptiacus - Egyptian Goose (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
Click Photo for full-page view Click Photo for full-page view Click Photo for full-page view









Click image to return to Waterfowl Contents FlowchartCONTENTS

Click image for list of Waterfowl Species

Click image for list of Waterfowl Agents
Click image for list of Waterfowl Diseases
Click image for list of Waterfowl Environmental Events / Factors

Return to top of page

General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Nile Goose
Ouette d'Egypte (French)
Oie d'Egypt (French)
Nilgans (German)
Ganso del Nilo (Spanish)
Ganso de Egipto (Spanish)
Oca del Nilo (Spanish)
Oca egipcia (Spanish)
Nijlgans (Dutch)
Nilgås (Swedish)

Names for newly-hatched

Gosling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases


Return to top of page


Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B2, B3, B4, B8, B19, B25, B26, B27.

Other references:

Aviculture references:
B7, B29, B30, B31, B40, B95, B97, B128.w1, B128.w2, B139
D1, D8

(UK Contacts)

(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

Return to top of page

TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

Return to top of page

Aviculture Information


General information:
  • Sheldgeese are generally hardy, and mostly aggressive particularly in the breeding season, so that pairs require a separate pen. A pen for a pair of these birds may be 80% grazing land to 20% water, with a minimum size of 200 square metres for the smaller species (e.g. Orinoco goose) and 300 square metres for the larger species.
  • Grazing birds, their grass (sward of less than 3 inches 7.5cm preferred) should be supplemented with wheat and pellets outside the breeding season and breeders pellets before and during the breeding season. Additional green food should be provided when there is insufficient grass.
  • Sheltered nest sites may be needed for species which nest early in the year. Ground-level nest boxes, open to the ground, 20x16x16 inches (50x40x40cm), with a ground level entrance hole and containing e.g. dry grass as nesting material.

(B7, B29, B40 B95, B128.w1, D1)

Species-specific information:

  • Egyptian geese are winter-hardy. These sheldgeese are territorial and aggressive, particularly when nesting, attacking even large geese and swans: a separate enclosure is suggested and these birds are definately not suitable for a mixed collection in a small enclosure. Good grazing, plus green food, pellets, grain and bread suggested for feeding.
  • Easy to breed, parent incubation and rearing recommended, although broodies and fostering under domestic ducks (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus - Domestic duck) has also been successful. Normally one clutch will be laid and reared; a second clutch of eggs may be laid if the fist clutch is lost. May nest on the ground in close or more open cover (e.g. under bushes), or use a hollow log, drainpipe, box, kennel or wigwam. Usually lay eggs March to June. Goslings may be fed grass, duckweed and starter crumbs; very high protein starter pellets should be avoided and grazing encouraged to reduce the risk of Angel Wing.
  • Hybridisation common; fertile hybrids reported with Tadorna species, Neochen jubata - Orinoco goose and Cyanochen cyanopterus - Blue-winged goose, sterile hybrids with Anser spp. including Anser anser - Greylag goose, Branta spp. and Chloephaga spp.. Hybrids also reported with Cairina moschata - Muscovy duck , sheldgeese, Plectropterus gambensis - Spur-winged goose, Chenonetta jubata - Maned duck.

(J23.13.w7, B29, B30, B31, B94, B95, B97, B128.w2, B139, D1).

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme recommended average closed ring size: N 13.0mm (D8).

Management Techniques

Click image for main Aviculture Section

Return to top of page

External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 28-29 inches, 71-73cm (B3, B1).
Adult weight General 1500-2250g (B1)
Male 1900-2250g (B3); mean 5.4 lbs. (B8).
Female 1500-1800g (B3); mean 4.7 lbs. (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

Return to top of page


Adult Bill Male Deep pink.
Variations (If present) --
Eyes (Iris) Male Brown.
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Yellow-grey.
Eyes (Iris) Brown.

Return to top of page


Adult Male Deep pink.
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Yellow-grey

Return to top of page


Adult Male Head, neck, breast, abdomen grey-buff, with brown line from bill and patch around eye, brown line down nape and forward to form neck ring. Brown patch on abdomen (variable size). Undertail coverts more cinnamon than buff.

Upperparts generally darker brown. Scapulars brownish, tail and rump black. Wing has white upper wing coverts with thin black line across, chestnut tertials, metallic green secondaries (speculum), black primaries.

Variations (If present) N.B. individual variation.
Juvenile Lacks brown marks around eyes and on breast, white on upper wing duller.

Return to top of page

Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Creamy with dark brown dorsal markings, white behind bill and continuing as thin line just over and behind eye.
Bill: Dark grey.
Feet: Dark grey.

Return to top of page


Reproductive Season

Time of year Usually local spring or end of dry season. Late March to May in England.
No. of Clutches --

Return to top of page

Nest placement and structure

On the ground in vegetation or in trees or holes, sometimes in disused nests of other birds. Nest of reeds, leaves, grass, with lining of down.

Return to top of page

Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average --
Range 5-12 (B1); 5-11 (B8).
Egg Description Creamy. Size: 44-48 x 55-68 mm.

Return to top of page


28-30 days (B1, B8).

Return to top of page



Return to top of page


About 60-75 days (B1); 70-80 days (B8).

Return to top of page

Sexual Maturity

Males --
Females --

Return to top of page


Feeding Behaviour

Adults Mainly grazing, also dabbles on surface and submerges head.
Newly-hatched --

Return to top of page

Parental Behaviour

Nest-building As solitary pairs.
Incubation By female only.
Newly-hatched Looked after by both parents.

Remain with parents for several weeks or months after fledging.

Return to top of page

Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Territorial while breeding. Some remain as solitary pairs outside the breeding season, others form flocks. Considerable aggression between birds in flocks.
Inter-specific --

Return to top of page

Sexual Behaviour

Strong permanent pair bond.

Return to top of page

Predation in Wild

Kites, monitor lizards, snakes, various mammals and hinged tortoises all prey on goslings. Crocodiles might be a threat to adults.

Return to top of page

Activity Patterns

Mainly terrestrial.
Circadian Fly out to grazing grounds at sunset to feed for several hours, but not all night.

Return to top of page

Natural Diet


Grass, also seeds, leaves and stems of other plants, grain, potatoes and other vegetables. Also worms, locusts.

Return to top of page



Return to top of page

Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

  • Africa south of Sahara, and the Nile valley.

  • Mainly sedentary, some movements depending on water availability

Occasional and Accidental
  • Occasionally migrates north of Sahara to winter in Algeria and Tunisia.
  • Occasionally seen in Europe.


Small feral populations in Britain and the Netherlands (B38).

London: In the London Area, "increasing feral breeding resident." (J322.65.w1)

Return to top of page


Open country: wetlands, meadows, and grasslands, including Ethiopian highlands to 4000m.

Return to top of page


Intraspecific variation


Return to top of page

Conservation Status

Wild Population -

Not considered threatened. Widespread and abundant (B1).

CITES listing CITES III in Ghana (B1).
Red-data book listing --
Threats --

Return to top of page

Captive Populations

Reasonably common (B8).

Return to top of page



Return to top of page