Australian ibis, White ibis, Sheep bird, Bin chicken, Dump chook, Tip turkey
The Australian white ibis (Threskiornis molucca) is a large wading bird widespread across much of Australia. While it is closely related to the African sacred ibis, the Australian white ibis is a native Australian bird - contrary to urban myth, it is not a feral species introduced to Australia by people, and it does not come from Egypt. Historically rare in urban areas, the Australian white ibis has established in urban areas of the east coast in increasing numbers since the late 1970s. Due to its increasing presence in the urban environment and its habit of rummaging in garbage, the species has acquired a variety of colloquial names such as "tip turkey" and "bin chicken", and in recent years has become an icon of Australia's popular culture, regarded with glee by some and passionate revulsion by others.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Semiaquatic animals are those that are primarily or partly terrestrial but that spend a large amount of time swimming or otherwise occupied in wate...
Congregatory animals tend to gather in large numbers in specific areas as breeding colonies, for feeding, or for resting.
Oviparous animals are female animals that lay their eggs, with little or no other embryonic development within the mother. This is the reproductive...
Wading birds forage along shorelines and mudflats searching for small aquatic prey crawling or burrowing in the mud and sand. These birds live in w...
Monogamy is a form of relationship in which both the male and the female has only one partner. This pair may cohabitate in an area or territory for...
Colonial animals live in large aggregations composed of two or more conspecific individuals in close association with or connected to, one another....
Partial migration is when within a migratory species or even within a single population, some individuals migrate while others do not.
The Australian white ibis has a bald black head and neck and a long black downcurved beak, measuring over 16.7 cm (6.6 in) in the male, and under in the female. The body plumage is white, although it may become brown-stained. Inner secondary plumes are displayed as lacy black "tail" feathers. The upper tail becomes yellow when the bird is breeding. The legs and feet are dark and red skin is visible on the underside of the wing. Immature birds have shorter bills. The head and neck are feathered in juveniles.
Australian white ibises are widespread in eastern, northern, and south-western Australia. Most adult birds are sedentary but populations that live in south-western Australia are partially migratory. Australian white ibises inhabit lagoons, estuaries, and marshy wetlands, often near open grasslands, and have become common in city parks, gardens, and rubbish dumps in urban areas.
Australian white ibises can be seen singly, however, they are social birds; they often roost in trees with other birds like spoonbills or herons, and breed in colonies. Australian white ibises are active during the day and feed by walking and wading along the shore probing for food. The most favored foods such as crayfish and mussels ibises obtain by digging with their long bill. Australian white ibises will also scavenge on garbage dumps and are even known to snatch sandwiches from picnickers. These large birds communicate vocally and their call is described as a long croak.
Australian white ibises are carnivores; they feed on both terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates and human scraps. The most favored prey items include fish, frogs, crayfish, mussels, shellfish, crabs, and insects.
Australian white ibises are monogamous and form long-lasting pair bonds. Breeding season varies with the location within Australia, generally August to November in the south, and February to May, after the wet season, in the north. Australian white ibises nest in large colonies, often near other waterbirds such as egrets, herons, spoonbills, or cormorants. Their nest is a shallow dish-shaped platform of sticks, grasses, or reeds, located in trees and generally near a body of water such as a river, swamp, or lake. The female lays 2 to 3 dull white eggs which are then incubated for 21-23 days. Hatchlings are altricial; they are naked and helpless at birth, and it takes them around 48 days to fledge. Young Australian white ibises reach reproductive maturity at 3 years of age.
There are no major threats facing the Australian white ibis at present.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Australian white ibis total population size. According to the ABC Science resource, the total population size of the species in Sydney is around 5,000 individuals (about 800 are juveniles). Currently, Australian white ibises are classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and their numbers today are stable.