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Posts Tagged ‘Egyptian Goose’

Egyptian Geese (Alopochen aegyptiaca) have a look that is so unusual and distinctive that I can now recognize them almost instantaneously. I am fortunate to have the chance to travel to Brussels, Belgium a couple of times a year for work and one of my favorite places to visit here is the botanical gardens of Brussels. There is a small pond at the botanical gardens that always has an assortment of birds, and I was delighted to spot this beautiful Egyptian Goose swimming in the pond yesterday, my day of arrival in this historic city. I have seen an Egyptian Goose at this location a couple of times in the past, but the lack of surprise did not diminish at all my excitement at seeing this exotic species.

As their name suggests, Egyptian Geese are native to the Nile River area and sub-Saharan Africa, but there are now established breeding populations in parts of Europe and even in the United States. According to information in Wikipedia, Egyptian geese were considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians, and appeared in much of their artwork. They have been raised for food and extensively bred in parts of Africa since they were domesticated by the ancient Egyptians, although I suspect that they are viewed in Europe as primarily an ornamental bird.

Egyptian Goose

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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On the day of my arrival in Brussels, Belgium for a short business trip, I went for a short walk in the botanical garden, one of my favorite spots to visit in this city. It is within walking distance of my hotel and is one of the few places where I know I can find a taste of nature in the crowed inner city area of Brussels.

Initially I noted only a few mallard ducks and moorhens in the small pond at the botanical garden, but when I looked more closely, I spotted a couple of spectacularly-colored ducks sleeping in a remote corner. I wasn’t sure what they were, but that did not deter me from taking some photos of them. When I went searching on the internet for the species of ducks in Brussels, none of them seemed to match the ones that I had seen. So I switched to searching using more descriptive terms and discovered that the birds were not ducks, but were in fact geese—Egyptian Geese.

As their name suggests, Egyptian Geese (Alopochen aegyptiaca) are native to the Nile River area and sub-Saharan Africa. There are now established breeding populations in parts of Europe and even in the United States.

I took this photo with my Canon SX50, a superzoom point-and-shoot camera that I usually take with me when I travel. As you can see from this image, the camera is capable of capturing a pretty good amount of detail and color.

Egyptian Goose

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When I spotted this odd-looking bird yesterday at the Botanical Garden in Brussels, I couldn’t make my mind up if it was a duck or a goose. It seemed too big to be a duck, but its markings seemed too colorful for a goose.

After a lot of searching on the internet, I have concluded this is probably an Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca). As its name suggests, this species is native to Africa south of the Sahara and the Nile Valley and is an introduced species in Europe, according to Wikipedia. There are in excess of 250 breeding pairs in Belgium, primarily around Brussels and the Flanders area, according to a posting on birdforum.net.

This bird did not hang around for very long, so I did not have a chance to see if, as The Bangles famously sang, it walked like an Egyptian (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv6tuzHUuuk).

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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