African Sacred Ibis
Threskiornis aethiopicus - Ibis sacré
- Size: 89 cm
- Wingspan: 112 à 124 cm.
- Weight: 1250 à 1500 g
The African Sacred Ibis is a medium sized bird with a robust appearance. The body plumage is white while the head and neck are bare and black (the black colour is that of the skin). The tips of the wings and the underside of the back are also black. The distinctive beak is thick and curved. The sexes are similar although some authors report that the female's beak is smaller than the male's. The juveniles are easily distinguishable: they have heads and necks covered in feathers. These feathers are gradually lost between the ages of two and three. In flight, the underside of the wings is white with a brown band on the lower covers. The tip of the remiges is black.
Subspecific information monotypic species
- Ibis sacré,
- Ibis sagrado,
- szent íbisz,
- Heilige Ibis,
- Ibis sacro,
- helig ibis,
- ibis posvätný,
- ibis posvátný,
- Hellig Ibis,
- ibis sagrat africà,
- ibis czczony,
- svētais ibiss,
- sveti ibis,
- Священный ибис,
Voice song and cries
The African Sacred Ibis reproduces today in almost all of Sub-Saharan Africa, in western Madagascar, the island of Aldabra and in southeastern Iraq, in the region of Amara.
The Ibis mainly inhabit open spaces, especially wetlands. The main types of environment used by the African Sacred Ibis mainly concern agricultural areas, wetlands, and food waste dump sites. The analysis of the distribution of this species in its natural environment in South Africa shows that the African Sacred Ibis depends mainly on prairies and grasslands at more than 80%, the rest consisting mainly of freshwater habitats, in particular shallow swamps, but also intertidal zones in estuaries. It has adapted to a wide variety of artificial habitats such as farm reservoirs, sewers, slurry reservoirs and ploughed fields. In France, on the Atlantic coast, its habitat is not much different. Here, the ibis frequent moist meadows with an intermittent presence of livestock, municipal waste dumps as well as pre-marshes or flooded reed beds.
Behaviour character trait
African Sacred Ibis gather in overnight roosts which may contain hundreds of birds. These roosts are often polyspecific.
The African Sacred Ibis' silhouette is typical in flight: body appearing almost entirely white, long legs and neck stretched out, long curved beak, wide wings. The flaps of its wings are wide, swift and done in alternate sequence with glides.
African Sacred Ibises search for their prey by sight, spearing insects and other animals from the surface of the water or from dry land, or probing in mud or soft terrain with their strong, curved bills.
In South Africa, the breeding season coincides with the rainy season. Although they usually nest in monospecific colonies, they sometimes reproduce in mixed colonies with storks, herons, spoonbills, egrets and cormorants.
In France, where it has been observed, breeding takes place from April to June, with an average of 2.85 eggs per nest. About 50% of the eggs hatch and the number of fledglings corresponds approximately to 25% of the eggs laid. In natural habitat in the West of France, African Sacred Ibis show great adaptability and use a great variety of habitats for the colonies: cypress plantations on islets, alder in the middle of vast reed beds, debris of trees stranded on sandy islets and even mainland in a semi-urban environment.
Threats - protection
IUCN conservation status
in the Wild
Uncommon. Species of tropical and southern Africa. African Sacred Ibis used to nest in Egypt. The feral French population is from Brittany. It counted more than 300 individuals at the beginning of the 90s. The introduction of this African species into an animal park is an aesthetic decision. As this ibis is a formidable predator, this introduction now poses real problems in France.
Sources of information
- IOC World Bird List (v13.2), Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2023.
Translation by AI Oiseaux.net
published: 15-06-2005 - Updated: 23-07-2022
© 1996-2023 Oiseaux.net