Egyptian Goose Outwits Leopard by Faking Injury, Saves All the Chicks (Video)

Public Domain. Linnaea Mallette

A rare video clip shows the smart moves a goose makes in an effort to save the babies.

It can't be easy being a bird with chicks in a place where lions, leopards, hyenas, and wild dogs roam. But for one smart goose at South Africa's Sabi Sand Game Reserve, a little theatrics go a long way.

The thespian is an Egyptian goose, and as you can see in the rare video clip below, shared by National Geographic, the bird expertly outsmarts a leopard.

The leopard in questions appears to have happened upon the family – two parents and their four chicks – while heading to the water for a drink.

Safari guide Tristan Dicks witnessed the scenario from a vehicle while a tracker filmed the interaction for WildEarth safariLIVE. “One of these chicks would be a bite-sized snack for a leopard like this,” he said, narrating the nail-biter. “But opportunity is a real thing when you’re a leopard.”

So the leopard spies the chicks, but then the parents start freaking out – as parents tend to do when a leopard starts hovering around the offspring. When a bunch of flapping and honking don't work, one of the grown-ups goes for broke: It lures the leopard away by pretending to be hurt, signaling to the cat that it might be an easy catch. There it is, making all kinds of commotion, dragging its wing, and ta-da, leopard changes focus from chicks to adult.

While all the drama is going on, two of the chicks and one of the parents head to the safety of the water. Then both adults are in the water – but where are the two missing chicks? The answer is revealed at around 2:43 and it's just super cute. For now, all are safe ... but should the leopard wise up, these geese seem smart enough to come up with another ruse. Pretty good for a couple of "birdbrains."