EGYPTIAN GEESE (2)

This is prime breeding time for Egyptian Geese (Alopochen aegyptiaca). There is much jostling and honking in water ways as the courting procedures get underway. While they appear to have a belligerent nature, it is touching to watch the male using a feather display to attract his mate.

Pairs choose their ‘spot’ and work hard at defending it from others wishing to either muscle in on a mate or take the spot for themselves.

It was while watching a few pairs of them this weekend that we got chatting about the name for these birds. As both the English and the scientific name imply, they have a close association with Egypt. Indeed, they are easily recognisable in the Ancient Egyptian artwork that still survives. The Afrikaans name, Kolgans, is a more practical name in terms of identification, however, for it draws attention to the distinctive brown patch in the middle of the bird’s buff-coloured chest.

Although we often see Egyptian Geese in the water and on the edges of rivers and dams, they also perch on buildings and in trees.

I recently saw a pair nesting in the top of a broken-off date palm in Boksburg.

Here a male takes off from the dam next to his mate.

Flies ahead of her.

Leaving her in his wake.

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