Is this bird a UK newcomer?
Have just returned from a walk by the River Yare, where I found this bird. I’ve never seen it before, is it new to the UK? Dennis Thompson
QThis is an Egyptian Goose, a close relative of the Shelduck, and once considered sacred by the Egyptians. They’re not exactly newcomers, having been introduced in the 18th Century as an ornamental bird, with several escaping shortly afterwards. The Egyptian Goose is still often considered a feral species, opening up again the old question of how long a bird needs to be breeding here before it becomes an accepted ‘native’ (Egyptian Goose was only officially added to the UK list in 1971). They are mainly found in East Anglia and the London area, with growing populations in the East Midlands, so your sighting by the Yare would not be unusual. It’s not a species that is encouraged, however, and in 2009 it was declared a pest species, in no small part due to its propensity to take nest sites from native birds (as a pair recently did to a pair of Ospreys at Rutland Water).