Egyptian Goose


Alopochen aegyptiacus … note, this is Egyptian goose, not Egypt goose. But it is Canada goos goose, not Canadian goose.

It might be called Egyptian goose because it looks like the old Egyptian paintings. Indeed, this goose is often depicted in ancient Egyptian art. Or maybe because it “walks like an Egyptian” (and by the way Egyptians don’t walk that way, only in the old paintings). But it is probably called an Egyptian goose for the same reason that the African buffalo is properly (in a vernacular sense) known as the Cape buffalo. The Cape buffalo entered the Linnaen Legacy via the observation of someone in what is now South Africa, and the Egyptian goose probably entered the pertinent literature from the perspective of someone working the other end of the African continent. It is, of course, much more widely distributed in Africa, wherever one finds geese as far as I know.

They pair for life, and they don’t spend to much time in water. Neither would you if you were a goose living in the land of the crocodiles. You’d be a siting duck. Your goose would be cooked. and so on.

I took this picture at the Kirstenbosch Gardens, in the vicinity of Cape Town, South Africa.


  1. #1 Scott Belyea
    December 27, 2007

    But it is Canada goos, not Canadian goose.

    Good try!! 🙂

  2. #2 Christopher Taylor
    December 27, 2007

    “Canada goos”, I’m guessing, is a popular marshmallowy confection made with maple syrup.

    The Egyptian goose is also a member of the shelducks/sheldgeese (Tadornini) rather than of the geese proper like the Canada goose (Anserini), so phylogenetically it can be called more of a duck than a goose.

  3. #3 DDeden
    December 27, 2007

    Out here on the left coast, Aleutian (not Aleut) Goose.

  4. #4 mark
    December 28, 2007

    Around here, we have Canada geese, plus Canadian Canada geese (they’re the ones that go home in the spring).

  5. #5 The Ridger
    January 10, 2008

    But why is that? With countries it’s the adjectival form – as Egyptian (goose), German (short-haired pointer), Hawaiian (goose)(used to be a country), etc. It’s smaller units that take the noun modification.

    I’m not arguing the usage – I’m just wondering why.

  6. #6 The Ridger
    January 10, 2008

    After doing a bit of poking around and discovering that the name was completely commonplace as far back as 1722, I am going to assume it’s Canada not Canadian because the name predates Canada’s being a country.

    And the confusion is because most people have internalized the rule and know it sounds “funny”.

    I’m satisfied. 😉

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    January 10, 2008

    I believe that it is Canada goose because the common name is derived from or linked to the scientific name. Canadensis is latin for “Canada” not “Canadian.”

  8. #8 Laelaps
    January 10, 2008

    While crossing campus I often have to be careful not to step on Canada goos… Most lawns here have all the Canada goo you would ever want to see.

  9. #9 joyce wyman
    September 12, 2009

    I was given a pair of egytian geese male and female.The female disappeared. That was 5years ago. My male loves my blue swedish duck and he gets along well with her. I feel sorry for him because he does not have his own species to mate. I have looked all over to see if I could find a female but no luck.He seems happy being alone but I still feel sorry for him. Any suggestions?

  10. #10 Meghan Aldape
    September 24, 2012

    You are my intake, I have few blogs and often run out from brand :). “To die for a religion is easier than to live it absolutely.” by Jorge Luis Borges.