African Sacred Ibis.

African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus)

An adult individual is 68 cm long with all-white body plumage apart from dark plumes on the rump. The bald head and neck, thick curved bill and legs are black. The white wings show a black rear border in flight. Actually quite an ugly bird.

This bird is usually silent, but occasionally makes some croaking noises, unlike its vocal relative, the Hadeda Ibis, which is very vocal specially when surprised, its call is often equated to what a person would scream if they were afraid of heights. Maybe it is afraid of heights.

It feeds on various fish, frogs, small mammals, reptiles and smaller birds as well as insects. It also probes the soil with its long bill for invertebrates such as earthworms.

Now for a fascinating fact; The African Sacred Ibis has been introduced into France, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, and the United States (S. Florida).

The introduced and rapidly growing populations in southern Europe are seen as a potential problem, since these large predators can devastate breeding colonies of species such as terns. The adaptable Ibises supplement their diet by feeding at rubbish tips, which helps them to survive the winter in these temperate regions.

Here are a few photos…..

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62 thoughts on “African Sacred Ibis.

  1. The head beak long legs and full round body makes for a fascinating creature. Im going to look to see how they are doing in Florida. Photography once again at its finest!

  2. Great shots again … my favorite is the second with the reflections in the water. Only a mother could love that face, but on the other hand he was some stunning feathers. Thanks for taking me to Africa through your posts and share your nature and wildlife.

  3. It kind of looks like a vulture…why do we always mess with the balance of nature by introducing new animals to certain areas? It doesn’t seem to ever benefit us… rabbits in australia, that crazy jumping carp in the US, etc…

    • You are so right Diana.. we have had those disasters happen here as well .. and some of the plants brought in by settlers to feed their pigeons are now more than a pest but have placed some of our plants on the red data list…

  4. Let’s call him “distinctive” rather than ugly. LOL! I wonder why it is that birds would be introduced into other countries without weighing the unintended consequences. Seems like some agencies didn’t perform due diligence. I hope the imbalances can be remedied without now finding it necessary to destroy the birds. I don’t even want to think about that!

    • Yes Alex the sacred Ibis is found in so many countries and it is the symbol of fertility, yet today it is becoming a problem because man is getting involved… much like the rhino horn, one wonders if there are not some who see this as some special sign for them…

  5. I can see it might be a problem – here, we have watched the Hadeda variety grow from zero when we first came to Durban, when Mynah birds were everywhere, to the situation where they seem to outnumber Mynahs by far.

  6. Interesting…and ugly, indeed! I checked out the Florida connection and the thinking on this is that they were brought over from private collectors. During hurricane Andrew they escaped captivity and started breeding. Some have been captured but not as fast as they are breading. They like to hang out in the everglades…somehow that environment seems very fitting to the creepy buggers. I wonder how they’d match up against the pythons (common pets that got too big and were release and are multiplying like crazy) that have overrun the area. The pythons seem to eat just about anything even, alligator and deer and apparently hold their breath underwater longer than deer.

    You know, I used to love playing in rivers…Florida has ruined that idea for me. Too many creepy animals below the surface…and now flesh eating amoebas. I think I’ll pass.

    • It just seems to me to be such a mistake for species to be allowed into areas where they are not endemic… noy on these birds but so many other species that get moved around the world… even the human race that years ago it was not so easy to move to another country and take up residence… when we move from Rhodesia to South Africa, I had to prove that the post I was about to fill could not be filled by a RSA resident and then I still went through all sorts of interviews etc for a residence permit, this is now hardly a problem… there are countries like Australia and New Zealand that will not just allow foreign species into their countries, yet some seem oblivious to the dangers of this… one world under one government just seems so possible now.. I begin wonder….

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