Can anyone help ID this bird? It was surprisingly large (bigger than a mallard) and seen in a park in south-east London. Initially thought wigeon or pochard but the breast colour doesn't seem to be right for either of those.

blurry duck

1 Answer 1


Not a duck but a small species of goose, Egyptian goose. They're not native to the UK, but have been introduced and feral birds are not uncommon.

The head can appear darker in contrast to the breast in sub-adult birds; see the gallery at the Wikipedia link above.

They're not always in books as (apart from very rare vagrants) they're feral descendents of introduced birds

  • We have them in California, too.
    – user2169
    Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 3:12
  • Called a "goose", but is probably in a group that includes "shelducks", that contains birds that evolved a duck-like shape independently of the dabbling or of the diving ducks. "Duck" "Swan" and "Goose" are fairly vaguely defined.
    – James K
    Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 12:00
  • 2
    @JamesK shelducks are or were sometimes called sheldgeese, a term that also applies to related species. The anatidae (swans, geese, and ducks) are a big family, but I'm no expert on the more detailed taxonomy. Egyptian goose is the only living species in the genus Alopochen, but as you say shares a subfamily (tadorninae) with the shelducks.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 12:42
  • 1
    They used to be very rare in most of Europe but are now more and more often getting to be a pest, very common and displacing the more welcome geese.
    – Willeke
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 14:18

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