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Sacred Ibis

Fact File

Continent: Africa, Asia
Habitat: Near water in tropical and sub-tropical areas
Weight and Length: 1.5kg, 0.7m

Diet: Carnivore (eats meat)
Gestation: 28 days
Number of Young: 2

Conservation Status: LC


  • Usually a silent species, though they do make some noises while fighting in the breeding season and may “croak” occasionally.
  • Use their long bills to catch invertebrates deep in the soil.
  • Feed in flocks in shallow wetlands, sometimes travelling 10km to reach feeding grounds.
  • Their brown irises of the eye are ringed red in the breeding season.

Sacred Ibis

Threskiornis aethiopicus

Animals —  Aves (birds) — Pelecaniformes (webbed four toed birds) — Threskiornithidae (ibises and spoonbills)

Sacred ibises are a black and white ibis. Ibises are recognisable as long-legged wading birds with long thin beaks that curve downwards. On the sacred ibis, their head, beak, upper neck and legs are bald and black, their tail feathers and very tips of the wings are black, and the rest of their feathers are white.

This species is very gregarious, feeding and nesting in large, mixed-sex groups. They are even often seen with other species of wading bird such as herons. Historically, this species was venerated by Ancient Egyptians, signifying the god Hoth. They were even mummified!

They are classified as Least Concern (LC) as they are still wide-ranging and quite common. However, it is thought their numbers might be slowly dropping, and certain populations have been declining.

Habitat: Found near rivers, streams and coastlines in a variety of tropical and sub-tropical areas.

Vital Statistics:
–Average weight: 1.5kg
–Average length: 0.7m

Life Expectancy:
In the wild up to: 20 years
In captivity up to: 30 years

Diet: They are carnivores and so eat meat. Feed mostly on insects, crustaceans, spiders and mollusks.

Distribution: Sub-Saharan Africa and south-east Iraq.