Ecological Studies on Egyptian Goose (Alopochen Aegyptiacus,Linnaeus, 1766) In the Boyo Wetland Hadiya Zone, Southern Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) is a resident bird species in Africa south of the Sahara occurring throughout the entire Nile Valley. Despite the wide distribution, the available information on its population and behavioral ecology is limited in Ethiopia. The present study was carried out in the Boyo wetland and surrounding farmland habitats.The population size, habitat preference, breeding, diurnal activity patterns, feeding ecology and attitude of local people towards Egyptian goose were studied.Total count method was employed to study population size. Breeding season was studied by locating and following active nests throughout the study area. Instantaneous scan sampling technique was used to study their daily activity patterns and foraging behavior. Questionnaire was used to study the attitude of the local people towards the wetland and Egyptian goose. In Boyo wetland, highest population (1652±312.375 individuals) was estimated in August and lowest (367.5± 8.271individuals) in January. Egyptian goose were more abundant during the wet season than during the dry season. The most frequently observed foraging habitat of Egyptian geese was mudflat (56.396%) during the dry season. During the wet season, the most frequently observed habitat of foraging was shallow water (45.25%). The active breeding season was from June to August with majority (55%) of the nests built on trees and 40% on house roofs. Nest materials used by Egyptian geese were grass (90%), branch/steam(90%), leaf (10%) and feather(95%). The mean clutch size of Egyptian goose was 7.43±0.68 (n=14). The mean egg length, width and weight were 67.85±0.32mm, 51.54±0.17mm and 94.11±1.06g, respectively. Hatching success was 67.39%. Resting and foraging behavior were predominant accounting for 39.81% and 32.64% respectively, of the diurnal time budget, followed by comfort movement (10.43%) and the rest was allocated for locomotion, vigilance, social behavior and other activities. Egyptian goose foraged on plant and animal materials including grains, grass, seeds, leaf parts of plants and invertebrates including worms and insects. Grass and seeds were major food sources of geese. Fecal analysis of geese revealed that the diet contained parts of plant matter including grass and seeds, animal matter and unidentified materials at different proportion. Grasses were most frequently observed food items during both wet (100%) and dry seasons (100%). However, seeds and animal matters constituted 95% and 10%, respectively during the wet season and 80% and 5%, respectively during the dry season. The percentage frequency of occurrence of unidentified matter constituted 65% during the dry season and 50% during the wet season. Majority of the local farmers in Boyo wetland had positive attitude towards the wetland habitats. However, 90% consider Egyptian goose as a pest causing high crop damage. Boyo wetland is the main roosting and feeding site for Egyptian goose and other birds. However, agricultural expansion, overgrazing and human population growth have negative impacts on the wetland habitats. Hence, conservation and intervention is required to mitigate these pressures on the habitat and the birdlife in this area.



Activity Patterns, Breeding, Boyo Wetland, Diet, Egyptian Goose, Egg and Nest, Morphometry