are ibis birds native to australia

In the past 30 years, there have been significant declines in populations of all of our waterbirds, including the Australian ibis species. Australian scientists are hard at work studying these groups and attempting to identify the cause of the declining numbers in certain habitats. In the case of ibis, causes are thought to include reductions in beneficial flooding, loss of habitat, and high mortality rates.

Most of us know ibises as ‘bin chickens’, but ibises are beautiful creatures and play an important part in our ecosystem. Part of a group of long-legged wading birds, ibises typically inhabit wetlands and floodplains. They have a characteristic long, down-curved bill (as seen in the photos below) and usually feed in groups. They nest together in tightly-packed ‘colonies’ with nests sometimes numbering in the thousands.

But did you know that Australia is home to three ibis species? The Straw-necked Ibis, Glossy Ibis and Australian White Ibis.

2. The Australian White ibis

Unfortunately, the more well-known ibis, the Australian white ibis, is now frequently referred to as a dumpster diver, bin chicken, or tip turkey. It was formerly known as the Sacred ibis. They are typically opportunistic scavengers and are frequently seen in city parks and at trash cans.

The range and abundance of Australian white ibis have recently increased in Western Australia. These birds are common and widespread in northern and eastern Australia. They consume a variety of foods, such as human scraps, fish, frogs, crustaceans, and both terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates. Due to the abundance of human food and water in coastal Australian cities, this species has moved there and settled, in contrast to the diminishing amounts of both in their natural habitats inland.

Features to help identify the Australian white ibis:

  • almost entirely white body plumage (except for the tail)
  • black, featherless head and neck
  • long and down-curved black bill
  • pink skin under the wings

Sacred Ibis is another common name for this bird, although it more accurately refers to a closely related African species.

When observed in dim light or from afar, the Glossy ibis nearly seems black. But don’t be fooled by that; under the correct lighting, an iridescent green and purple gloss is visible, giving it its glossy title.

It is rare to see Glossy ibis foraging in dry farmland or trash tips. Rather, it favors searching for aquatic invertebrates in the mud of shallow wetlands and saturated soil. It is most common in the north of Australia, but it can be found throughout much of the continental region in swamps and lakes. It is a non-breeding visitor to Western Australia’s southwest and Tasmania.

  • reddish-brown neck and bronze-brown body
  • metallic sheen on the wings
  • distinctive long, curved olive-brown bill
  • blue-grey skin on the face with a white rim around the eyes
  • brown legs and feet
  • much smaller compared to straw-necked and australian white ibis

Distribution edit Adult at

In Australia’s east, north, and southwest, the Australian white ibis is widely distributed. It is found in marshy wetlands, frequently close to open grasslands, and is now frequently found in city parks and trash dumps along Australia’s east coast, including those in Wollongong, Sydney, Perth, the Gold Coast, Brisbane, and Townsville. In the past, it was uncommon in cities; the first records of it came about when a drought forced birds eastward in the late 1970s, and breeding records for Sydney weren’t found until the 1980s. [19].

One of the bird’s primary breeding grounds used to be the Macquarie Marshes in northwest New South Wales; 11,000 nests were recorded there in 1998. However, since 2000, none have been reported breeding there. [6] The species is absent from Tasmania. [20] Australian white Ibises gather on rain soaked grass in.

Taxonomy edit

Georges Cuvier first described it as an Ibis molucca in 1829. It is regarded as a member of the sacred ibis (T) superspecies complex. aethiopicus) of Africa, and the black-headed ibis (T. melanocephalus) of Asia. Its status in the complex has vacillated over the years. The bird was referred to as a species in many previous guidebooks, T molucca, up until Holyoak’s thorough examination of plumage patterns in 1970. Holyoak observed that the Australian taxon resembled T and that the three species were similar. aethiopicus in adult plumage and T. melanocephalus in juvenile plumage. He suggested that they all be regarded as belonging to the same species, T aethiopicus. The scientific community up until Lowe and Richards’ 1991 assessment of plumage largely agreed with this. [10] They once more suggested that molucca be recognized at the species level. After that, a chromosomal analysis revealed that the three species had distinct karyotypes. Since then, the majority of authorities have recognized the Australian white ibis as a distinct species. [12].


Are ibis indigenous to 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.

Where is the ibis bird native to?

The scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber) inhabits northern South America, and the white ibis (E. albus) ranges in Central and North America.

When were ibis introduced to Australia?

Small ibis colonies were established by conservationists in the early 1970s in places like Sydney’s Taronga Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria. Ibis also migrated from interior wetlands to the coasts of east and southeast Australia and the south-west.

Do Australians eat ibis?

“Ibis are not to be caught, not to be killed, and not to be eaten,” Magistrate Ross Hudson told Mr Quach in Waverley Local Court on Wednesday. “Touching any bird or attempting to capture any bird is a breach, is that clear?” Mr Quach nodded in agreement.