Friday, 8 April 2011

White ibis

Eudocimus albus

Common name:

Order Ciconiiformes
Family Threskiornithidae

The white ibis breeds from the United States, along the coastal region of Virginia, south and west to Louisiana, including inland South Carolina through Florida, and along the entire coast of Mexico, Belize, Nicaragua, Cuba, Jamaica, Panama, and Costa Rica.

These birds are 56-68 cm long and have a wingspan of 95 cm. They weigh 750-1.050 g.

The white ibis lives in a variety of coastal freshwater, saltwater and brackish marshes, rice fields, mudflats, mangrove swamps and lagoons.

They forage in shallow, sparsely vegetated water, using their long, sensitive bill to search for its prey by touch rather than by sight. They feed on a variety of crustaceans, insects, amphibians, small snakes and small fish.

White ibis tend to breed in June-July, but the breeding season may vary according to food abundance. They nest in colonies, with the females builds the nest in the forking branch of a tree or bush, weaving dead twigs collected by the male together with vegetation. The female lays 1-4 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 21 days. The hatchlings are cared for constantly as they are weak and prone to overheating, and they are fed on freshwater prey such as small fish. They fledge 2 weeks after hatching but remain in the colony for at least another 40 days. They only become fully independent after 2 years.

IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a large breeding range and a global population estimated at 350.000 individuals. The overall population estimate is believed to be stable, but the population in the United States has increased by almost 600% over the last 4 decades.

No comments:

Post a Comment