Usually found inland and close to water, these handsome large geese have patches of chestnut-colored feathers around each eye, which give them a spectacled appearance. Essentially terrestrial, they spend considerable time ashore and are at ease on land and will also perch readily on trees and buildings. They are strong swimmers and dive extremely well, but look heavy in flight, more like a goose than a duck, hence the English name. They typically eat seeds, leaves, grasses, and plant stems. Occasionally, they will eat locusts, worms and snails. They feed both night and day, often long distances from water.
This is a territorial species in the breeding season, and interestingly, they use a surprising variety of nest sites. Some nest on the ground, some in burrows, others prefer using ledges on cliffs or old buildings. Some select abandoned nests of other birds, often high in the crowns of trees. Parents call from below to the young that hatch at high elevations until the babies find courage to step off into space. Almost without exception, these nests are incredibly well hidden. Females incubate a clutch of 8-20 eggs for about 28 days. Although they can be very quarrelsome and bad-tempered by nature, they form strong pair bonds (indeed, they mate for life) and are excellent parents.
The sexes of this striking species are identical in plumage, though the males average slightly larger. There is a fair amount of variation in plumage tone, with some birds greyer and others browner, but this is not sex or age related.
Egyptian geese were considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians, and appeared in much of their artwork.
The Egyptian Goose is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.