National Australian white ibis community survey

The Australian white ibis, Threskionis molucca, is a highly visible native water bird in New South Wales. Prior to the 1970s, the white ibis was rarely sighted in urban areas and did not breed in the Sydney region but followed the non-permanent waters of inland lakes and rivers. Due to extensive droughts and changes in water regimes they have sought refuge in coastal wetlands. White ibis have adapted well to the constant water and food supply available in urban environments and they are now a common site in our parks where they feed on invertebrates (beetle larvae etc.), crustaceans (yabbies etc.) and our handouts (bread etc.).

Since 2003, we have been running the community survey where we ask members of the public to tell us about their white ibis sightings.

How many are there? Help us find out!

Leg bands and wing tags

Thanks for participating in the annual community survey of the Australian white ibis population across Australia.

This year the survey is being held during Bird Week, between 21 and 29 October 2017. Please report your ibis sightings using the form below.

During Bird Week you can also contribute to the Aussie Backyard Bird Count through the Playstore or iTunes app.

We welcome all counts, whether you travel to the local wetland or park where you have seen white ibis or if you coincidentally observe white ibis and conduct a count. Please provide as many details as possible using the below form. Information about white ibis with bands or tags is particularly useful as white ibis have been observed to move long distances e.g. from Victoria to Papua New Guinea.

This surveys aims to improve our understanding of the distribution and abundance of the Australian white ibis across NSW and we are working with our neighbouring States and Territories to census the national population. This will help us to develop conservation practices for these birds.

In addition to the annual population survey we are researching ibis behaviour and movement to find out where they feed, where they roost, how long they live and how much they move around. Please help us by reporting sightings of tagged ibis through the Wingtags app. We welcome all reports, even if you see the same bird every day or multiple times within the same day. Regular reports of tagged birds allow us to build our understanding of individual birds behaviour.

Australian white ibis sighting form


The information you provide in this form will only be used for the purpose for which it was collected. By submitting, you consent to storage, use, and disclosure of your personal information in accordance with our privacy policy. You can request access and amendment of your personal information.
Page last updated: 20 September 2017