The Red-breasted Goose (Above) is a beautiful goose that we saw both at St. James Park and at Regents Park (Below). While researching this bird, it seems that it is endangered ( http://www.branta-ruficollis.com/ ). The Red-breasted Goose breeds in Arctic Europe, often close to nests of large birds of prey. This helps to protect this small goose from land predators such as fox. It winters in south eastern Europe. It is a rare visitor to western European areas, including Great Britain. There has been a few sightings of these birds that do straggle into western Europe during the winter particularly into England and the Netherlands, but in these areas there is also the possibility that a sighted bird is an escapee from a wildfowl collection. We are assuming that the Red-breasted Geese we saw in London were of this category.
|Red-breasted Goose, Regents Park, London, UK; 4/8/10.|
Another goose that had interesting markings that we saw in several places in London was the Egyptian Goose (Below), which is abundant in Africa. Their name is derived because they were raised in Egypt as domestics for food. They are found mostly in the Nile Valley and south of the Sahara. It has also been introduced in Europe, particularly in Great Britain, Netherlands and Germany where they have self-sustaining wild populations. The British population dates back to the 18th century, though only formally added to the British bird list in 1971. There have been regular sightings of a wild flock of Egyptians in Norfolk, England, (and even a lone vagrant that has been visiting a lake in Pennsylvania, U.S. for the past three years. This one was hanging around a flock of Graylags. Their staple diet consists of grass and herbs, but during the dry season, when their natural food becomes less attractive, they often visit cultivated areas and can cause considerable damage to crops. Egyptian Geese are very aggressive, especially during breeding season. They are intolerant of other birds including individuals of their own kind and are among the most vicious of all waterfowl. In Great Britain they are considered to be a pest.
|Egyptian Geese at Hampton Court, London, UK; 4/6/10.|