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ABA Checklist Committee Adds Egyptian Goose to ABA Checklist

Yesterday, the ABA Checklist Committee (CLC) unanimously (8–0) accepted the Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca) as an established exotic in southeastern Florida (Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties). The CLC vote was in response to a 6–1 vote by members of the Florida Ornithological Society Records Committee (FOSRC) to add Egyptian Goose to the official Florida bird list as an established exotic. Evidence to support establishment was provided by a paper by Bill Pranty and Valeri Ponzo to be published later this year in Florida Field Naturalist; the final draft of the manuscript was shared with members of the FOSRC and CLC.

Using observations from January 2012 to December 2013, Pranty and Ponzo tallied 1,204 geese at 181 separate locations in the southernmost four counties along Florida’s Atlantic coast. The size of the occupied range is about 1,900 square miles, consisting primarily of residential developments, city parks, and golf courses. Egyptian Geese have been resident in Martin County, Florida since 1994 (Braun 2004), and 77 breeding observations were compiled throughout Florida, with most of these recent (Pranty and Ponzo 2014).

Egyptian Goose nests

Egyptian Geese are established as a breeding bird across several south Florida counties including Palm Beach, where this photo was taken. photo by brhodes via wikipedia

Egyptian Geese are native to sub-Saharan Africa and the Nile River drainage. Exotic populations, originating from birds released as ornamental waterfowl, are widespread in Europe, with a recent estimate of 26,000 pairs, including more than 11,000 pairs in the Netherlands (Gyimesi and Lensink 2012). Egyptian Geese are found elsewhere in the ABA Area, such as Arkansas, California, central Florida, Texas, and other places, but those populations are not established (Pranty and Garrett 2011, Smith and James 2012, Pranty and Ponzo 2014). Nonetheless, birders should document the occurrence of Egyptian Geese outside of southeastern Florida as part of an effort to monitor populations of exotic birds—whether or not “countable”—throughout the continent.

The Egyptian Goose is species #986 on the ABA Checklist, an increase of five species since the CLC’s most recent published annual report (Pranty et al. 2013). Zino’s Petrel was added in November 2013, and three species were added in July 2014 based on taxonomic “splits” accepted by the American Ornithologists’ Union Committee on Classification and Nomenclature—North and Middle America (Chesser et al. 2014): Salvin’s Albatrosses (split with Shy [now White-capped] Albatross), Ridgway’s Rail (split with Clapper Rail), and Kamchatka Leaf Warbler (split with Arctic Warbler).

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Literature Cited

Braun, D. G. 2004. First documented nesting in the wild of Egyptian Geese in Florida. Florida Field Naturalist 32:138–143.

Chesser, R. T., R. C. Banks, C. Cicero, J. L. Dunn, A. W. Kratter, I. J. Lovette, A. G. Navarro-Siguenza, P. C. Rasmussen, J. V. Remsen, Jr., J. D. Rising, D. F. Stotz, and K. Winkler. 2014. Fifty-fifth supplement to the American Ornithologists’ Union Check-list of North American Birds. The Auk 131:CSi–CSxv.

Gyimesi, A. and R. Lensink. 2012. Egyptian Goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca: An introduced species spreading in and from the Netherlands. Wildfowl 62:126–143.

Pranty, B. and K. L. Garrett. 2011. Under the radar: “Non-countable” exotic birds in the ABA Area. Birding 43(5):46–58.

Pranty, B. and V. Ponzo. 2014. Status and distribution of Egyptian Geese (Alopochen aegyptiaca) in southeastern Florida. Florida Field Naturalist 42:in press.

Pranty, B., J. L. Dunn, K. L. Garrett, D. D. Gibson, M. J. Iliff, M. W. Lockwood, R. Pittaway, and D. A. Sibley. 2013. 24th report of the ABA Checklist Committee, 2013. Birding 45(6):30–37, 75–79.

Smith, K. G. and D. A. James. 2012. History and current status of Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) in northwestern Arkansas. Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science 66:200–204.

 

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Bill Pranty

Bill Pranty

Bill Pranty has lived and birded in central Florida for more than 35 years. Pranty’s studies emphasize the documentation of Florida’s diverse avifauna, with a focus on its exotic species. His research has added four species to the ABA Checklist—Egyptian Goose, Purple Swamphen, Nanday Parakeet, and Common Myna—all of them exotics from Florida. Pranty is chairman of the ABA Checklist Committee, and a technical reviewer for and frequent contributor to Birding magazine. He has written dozens of peer-reviewed ornithological papers and is the author or co-author of six books, among these a Birder's Guide to Florida, the ABA Checklist, and the ABA Field Guide to Birds of Florida.
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