Over the last week or so sightings have started to pop up on our sightings board of an Egyptian Goose. Although not as rare in the UK as they once were it’s still an unusual enough sight here at Brandon Marsh to get us all aflutter (pun entirely intended). The birds tend to nest during January or early Spring – not a problem in their native Africa but here it has tended to mean that chick survival rates have been poor. The best place to see them is Norfolk; however we usually get just the one visitor each year at Brandon.
As there’s only one each year it seems most likely that it’s the same Egyptian goose, travelling with a flock of other birds. The distinctive eye markings and apricot colouring on the chest make it relatively easy to identify, although telling male from female is very difficult as the markings are pretty much the same. The males tend to be slightly larger and sometimes have a darker head – but with nothing to compare ours to it’s particularly tough to tell!
The birds are believed to mate for life and will nest in (amongst other places) hollows in trees, with clutches of up to 9 or 10 eggs. All in all, a great addition to Brandon Marsh and well worth coming to have a look for on what should be a (mostly) dry bank holiday.
There’s great info about Egyptian geese on these websites if you’d like to know more:
- BTO (British Trust for Ornithology)
- GB non-native species secretariat
- The Guardian