VIDEO: Rare gosling hatches in Washington

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BOSSES at Washington Wetland Centre are celebrating after a rare bird hatched for the very first time.

The Abyssinian blue-winged goose was incubated and hatched by aviculture expert Owen Joiner at the wetland reserve’s specialist duckery, after being the only fertile egg to be laid by its mother.

Owen said: “I’m really excited about successfully breeding and hatching this species for the first time.

“The adults arrived at WWT Washington two years ago as young chicks, and this was their first attempt at producing young, so I’m very proud of them.

“The female actually laid a clutch of five eggs, but unfortunately only one was fertile. I incubated the solitary egg at our specialist duckery and, thankfully, it hatched successfully.”

The gosling will now be reared alongside other juveniles from this season, which include Andean goose, eider, Meller’s duck, red-billed whistling duck, South Georgian pintail and red-breasted goose.

Visitors can see the chick throughout the day at the duckery.

The Abyssinian blue-winged goose is a waterfowl species endemic to Ethiopia, which was historically known as Abyssinia.

Adults are similar in appearance, with stocky grey-brown bodies, a slightly paler head and upper neck and powder-blue forewings. They have small black bills and black legs and their feathers are thick and almost fur-like.

They are quiet birds and don’t honk or cackle like true geese, but instead give a soft, low whistle.

Formerly classified as a “near threatened” species, new research showed the breed to be rarer than was thought, and in 2008, it was uplisted to “vulnerable”.