Africa S of Sahara, Nile Valley. Introduced and spreading in several European countries, especially Britain, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany
Herbivore - grass, seeds, leaves, stems of aquatic plants, grain, shoots and potatoes, sometimes worms, locusts and termite alates.
Habitat: diversity of wetlands (dams, rivers, lakes, estuaries, marshes etc) in open country.
Incubation: 28-30 days / 7-8 eggs
Social structure: pairs or flocks of up to 2000 birds
Weight: max 2,3kg
Dimensions: max 73cm wing span: max 1.5m
Lifespan: 25 under human care
Estimated population in the wild: relatively common species
Threats: persecuted as an agricultural pest, by shooting and poisoning in parts of its range. Hunted for sport although not in large numbers.
IUCN status: least consern
Did you know that:
- Occasionally perches on or follows hippopotamuses (Hippopotamus amphibius) to feed on disturbed plant and animal matter
- They nest on the ground, but also in tree holes or even in abandoned nests of other bird species.