Is this bird a UK new­comer?

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View -

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).


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