Bird of the Week – Sacred ibis

Sacred Ibis

By BRUCE MUNRO

THE sacred ibis is a very common resident which is widespread south of the Sahara, Madagascar, Middle East and Australia.

Their habitat is varied – from inland waters, cultivated lands, playing fields and rubbish dumps, to coastal lagoons and tidal flats.

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The sacred Ibis also has a varied diet, as it feeds off small mammals, nesting birds, eggs, crocodiles, frogs, small reptiles, carrion and seeds.

They are highly gregarious, and flocks may number hundreds of birds. They roost in trees, in reedbeds and islands, flying in a V formation to and from roosting and feeding sites.

Breeding takes place in the summer. Two to five dull white eggs are laid, in a nest built of a platform of sticks lined with leaves and grass.

Incubation is 28 to 29 days and they can fly after 35 to 40 days.

The Zulu name is umXwagele and Afrikaans Skoorsteenveër.

 

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