Ibis is a long-legged wading bird which belongs to the Threskiornithidae family. There are total 28 different species of ibis that can be found around the world. They are found in all warm regions except on South Pacific islands. These birds generally live in large groups feeding, resting, and preening throughout the day.
Physical Appearance: –
They can reach 18 to 41 inches in height and 0.6 to 4 pounds of weight, depending on species. The smallest species is spot-breasted ibis and the largest is giant ibis. Generally, males are slightly larger as compared to their female counterparts.
They have a long and curved bill that helps them to extract the food from the mud and water. Their nostrils are located at the base of the bill. This is the reason why they can still breathe while their bill is submerged in water.
These birds are diurnal that means they are active during the day. These birds fly with neck and legs extended and alternate between flapping and sailing. They live in large groups to get extra protection from predators.
They are omnivorous birds which mean they can eat both plant and animals. Their diet consists of crayfish, earthworms, marine worms, and crabs. They also eat fish, frogs, lizards, snails, and newts sometimes. White Ibises probe for insects and crustaceans beneath the surface of wetlands.
Their breeding season varies on the basis of species and their habitat. Generally, females lay 3 to 5 eggs at once. Their incubation period lasts from 20 to 30 days. Newly hatched chicks are covered in gray, brown, or black hair like feathers.
These chicks leave the nest 28 to 56 days after hatching. They are born with a straight bill that gets curved over time. Parent birds take turns feeding their chicks. They transfer the regurgitated from their mouth to chicks’.
Quick Facts: –
- The word ‘ibis’ has been derived from the Latin and Ancient Greek word for this group of birds.
- These birds’ feathers can come in different colors including white, black, brown, grey, orange-red or pink depending on species.
- Their plumage color gets affected by a number of factors including their diet and habitat.
- Natural predators of this medium-sized bird include foxes, cats, snakes and large birds of prey etc.
- On an average, they can survive 8 to 15 years in the wild and up to 25 years in the captivity.
- They produce various wheezing and squeaking noises during their breeding season otherwise they are not very vocal.
- Almost all species of ibises have bare spots, usually on the face or throat.
- The Indian black ibis is a species of this bird which is found in the plains of the Indian Subcontinent.
- They rid gardens and crops of insects and other small animals that can be harmful to plants.
- Fossil records of these birds date back to approximately 60 million years.
- In ancient Egypt, these birds were supposed to preserve the country from plagues and serpents.
- They were often mummified and then buried with pharaohs.
- A legend in the Birecik area, the northern bald ibis was one of the first birds that Noah released from the Ark as a symbol of fertility.
Question & Answers: –
Ques. What causes the Orange-red color of feathers of ibis?
Ans. A diet rich in carotenoid pigments
Ques. When do the young ibises leave the nest?
Ans. 28 to 56 days after hatching
Ques. When do they become fully independent?
Ans. One to four weeks after fledging
Ques. According to Josephus, why did Moses use this bird?
Ans. To help him defeat the Ethiopians
Ques. With which ancient Egyptian deity, is the African sacred ibis generally associated?
Ans. The deity Djehuty
Ques. What does this bird symbolizes?
Ans. It is a symbol of communication, probing, transition and trust.
Ques. What is the range of the Sacred Ibis?
Ans. Most of Sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar and Iran, Iraq, and Yemen are also included.
Ques. Why are these birds valuable to farmers?
Ans. They play an important role in helping to control crop pests.
Ques. Which country has the Scarlet Ibis as their national bird?
Ans. Trinidad and Tobago
Ques. Generally, how many days does it take to build their nest?
Ans. On an average, seven days.
Ques. What color are their plumage?
Ans. The color of their plumage can range from white, black, brown, grey, orange, red, or pink.
Ques. Is the Glossy Ibis is a migratory bird?
Ans. Yes, it is.