Australian white ibis community survey
The Australian white ibis, Threskionis molucca, is a highly visible native water bird in New South Wales.
What do they look like?
- Like all ibises, the Australian white ibis has a large, curved beak designed for probing.
- Their heads and necks are featherless and black, except for horizontal lines on the back of the head that vary in colour from pale pink to red.
- Their bodies in contrast are mainly white, apart from black tips to the longest flight feathers, black lacelike wing feathers and highly visible bare patches under the wings and on the breast that also vary in colour from pale pink to red.
- The legs are reddish brown to black in colour.
- Prior to the 1970s, the Australian white ibis did not breed in the Sydney region but followed the non-permanent waters of inland lakes and rivers, due to the extensive droughts and changes in water regime they have sought refuge in the coastal wetlands. Ibises have adapted well to the constant water and food supply available in urban environments and they are now a common site in our parklands where they feed on invertebrates (beetles etc) and crustaceans (yabbies etc).
How many are there? Help us find out!
Leg bands and wing tags
The National Parks and Wildlife Service is trying to get a better understanding of the distribution and abundance of Australian white ibis at a statewide level. This will help us to develop conservation practices for these birds. One of the questions we are attempting to answer is how many of these birds are actually in New South Wales?
Since 2003, we have been running community ibis surveys. The surveys have taken place on a single day in summer. We have asked members of the public to tell us about their ibis sightings in Sydney over the day. Information from community members will help us to understand and manage these distinctive birds. This years survey is on Sunday 28 October 2012.
Page last updated: 02 November 2012