Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Australian white ibis

Threskiornis molucca

Photo by Josep del Hoyo (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Australian white ibis (en); íbis-branco-australiano (pt); ibis à cou noir (fr); ibis blanco australiano (es); Molukkenibis (de)

Order Ciconiiformes
Family Threskiornithidae

This species is found in eastern and northern Australia, and to a lesser extent also in south-western Australia. The Australian white ibis is also found in the Solomon islands, in New Guinea, in the Moluccas and in the Lesser Sundas.

These birds are 65-75 cm long and have a wingspan of 112-124 cm. The males are larger than the females, weighing 1,7-2,5 kg while the females weigh 1,4-19 kg.

The Australian white ibis is mostly found in swamps, lagoons and floodplains, but also in wet grasslands, mangroves, estuaries, agricultural areas and in recent decades it has also became a successful inhabitant of urban parks and gardens.

They feed on aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, such as crayfish, mussels and insects, as well as fishes, frogs and also human scraps.

Australian white ibises breed in August-May. They nest in large colonies, often together with
often with the straw-necked ibis Threskiornis spinicollis, as well as egrets, herons, spoonbills and cormorants. The nest is a shallow dish-shaped platform of sticks, grasses or reeds, located in a tree near a body of water such as river, swamp or lake. the female lays 1-3 dull white eggs, which are incubated for 21-23 days. The chicks fledge 6-7 weeks after hatching. Each pair can raise 1-2 broods per season.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as common. The overall population trend is fluctuating, although some populations are stable and others have unknown trends.

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