Sacred Ibis

Sacred Ibis


Profile Sacred Ibis     Literature page Sacred

[order] Ciconiiformes | [family] Threskiornithidae | [latin] Threskiornis aethiopicus | [UK] Sacred Ibis | [FR] Ibis sacré | [DE] HeiligerIbis | [ES] Ibis Sagrado | [IT] Ibis sacro | [NL] Heilige Ibis

Heilige Ibis determination

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Een volwassen heilige ibis is 68 cm hoog. Het is een overwegend witte vogel met uitzondering van een zwarte nek, een kale, zwarte kop en zwarte vleugeluiteinden. Beide sexen zien er hetzelfde uit, maar de jonge dieren zijn niet helder wit (“vuilwit”).

Subtropical as well as tropical, adapted to fairly wide range of mainly inland habitats by lakes and rivers and in cultivated areas. Breeding sites range from high trees to bare surface of rocky marine islands.

Sacred Ibises have, escaped from captivity and been seen in the wild in Europe since the 19th century, eg in Italy, but this remained a rare event until about the 1970s when it became fashionable to breed free-flying groups of ibises in zoological gardens. This led to a regular flow of escapes, which in turn led to the establishment of breeding pairs in the wild, and breeding populations have now become established in Spain, Italy and France, as well as on the Canary Islands. Stray birds have also been reported in other countries.

Invertebrates mainly, including insects (particularly locusts and grasshoppers), spiders, annelids, crustaceans, and molluscs. Also frogs, reptiles, fish, young birds and eggs, carrion, and offal. Feeds during day mainly in flocks, mostly by wading in shallow wet areas, and occasionally on dry land close to water.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 20,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 200,000-450,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from]

Nest is built most often in trees, especially flat-topped thorns; but on islands also in low scrub, under 1 m from ground, and on ground, among rocks; sometimes in rushes in swamps. Colonial; nests close but rarely touching. Nest: large pile of branches and sticks, lined grass, rushes, and leaves, and occasionally shells and coloured beads.
Clutch size 2-4, one brood. Incubation lasts 28-29 days and the young fledge after 35-40 days.

Little information on movements of Iraq population. Present (at least formerly) all year, though not necessarily sedentary, in marshes of lower Tigris and Euphrates.


  1. Measurements
  2. spanwidth min.: 110 cm
  3. spanwidth max.: 125 cm
  4. size min.: 60 cm
  5. size max.: 85 cm
  6. Breeding
  7. incubation min.: 28 days
  8. incubation max.: 29 days
  9. fledging min.: 35 days
  10. fledging max.: 40 days
  11. broods 1
  12. eggs min.: 2
  13. eggs max.: 4
  14. Conservation Status
  15. Heilige Ibis status Least Concern
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