Mystery bird? Well, perhaps, not to many of this blog’s readers, but when I came across this fellow a few days ago standing in the road with seemingly no intention of budging and sporting such attractive red ‘boots,’ I had to do a double-take. We are very accustomed to seeing Muscovy ducks here in SW Florida, but I had never seen one of these. Who was this strange visitor? Well, after Google-ing “Duck with red legs,” up popped a match: images of the Egyptian Goose, a native of Egypt and Syria. Actually, it’s neither a goose nor a duck, but something called a shelduck—a cross between the two.
Upon doing a bit of research, I learned that the Egyptian geese were considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians. The ones found in Florida are largely escapees from some of the animal parks in SE Florida where they are, I’ve read, a very common site. And, while not commonly seen here in SW Florida, apparently they are not a huge rarity either. But I doubt too many folks around here have ever spotted one. When I took the below photos, I was in my car, which as I later learned was a good thing because, according to birdinginformation.com, the Egyptian goose is (especially in breeding season) “quarrelsome and aggressive, very intolerant of other birds, including their own kind,” and “can even be vicious.” So, welcome to the neighborhood, exotic little visitor! I shall keep my distance! 😉