Originating from the Nile Valley, the Egyptian goose is most common in Northern Egypt and south of the Sahara Desert. It is not actually a goose but a shelduck; a cross between a goose and a duck. It has many duck-like characteristics but also many goose-like traits and is the most widespread of all African waterfowl.
These shelducks are excellent swimmers but are mostly terrestrial and are often seen perching on trees. They can be found in meadows, grassland and agricultural fields and will not populate densely wooded areas. They stay together in small flocks throughout the year, mainly for protection. They generally settle in one area for their entire lives unless predators become too abundant or drought occurs and, although they may wander during the day in search of food, they always return to the water at night.
Adult geese are 63 to 73 centimetres tall (25 to 28 inches) and have a wingspan of approximately 38 centimetres (15 inches). They generally weigh between 1.5 and 2.3 kilograms (3.3 to 5 pounds).
The ancient Egyptians considered these geese to be sacred and, due to this, they are featured in a lot of artwork from that time.