Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Tea For Two - with an IBIS!

As this is Wild Bird Wednesday that Stewart from Paying Ready Attention hosts and I have family in Australia and have being going there now for many years, I thought on Wednesdays I would show you some of my Australian photographs.  However it was only from 2007/8 that I started taking digital photographs so that is where we will start, in Sydney at the Botanical Gardens.

The Australian White Ibis is a fairly large Ibis species, around  25–30 in long and has a bald black head and neck and a long black down curved beak, measuring over (6.6 in) in the male, and under in the female.  There is some sexual dimorphism in size, as the slightly heavier male weighs 3.7-5.5 lbs compared to the 3.1–4.2 lbs female.   As an comparison, the American White Ibis generally attains 2.2 lbs in weight.  The body plumage is white although it may become brown-stained. Inner secondary plumes are displayed as lacy black 'tail' feathers. The upper tail becomes yellow when the bird is breeding. The legs and feet are dark and red skin is visible on the underside of the wing. Immature birds have shorter bills. The head and neck are feathered in juveniles.

The Australian White Ibis reaches sexual maturity in 3 years and can reach 28 years of age.

The White Ibis usually gives off a foul stench. This smell is not described as rotten, but an odd smell that is rather unpleasant and distinct.

There has been debate in recent years over whether to consider them a pest or a possibly endangered species. Birds in tourist areas of Sydney such as Darling Harbour, the Royal Botanic Gardens, or Centennial Park have been a problem due to their strong smell. Populations in the latter two areas have been culled.  Another fact as you can see is as they nest in the Palm tree in the Gardens, (see above) they eventually ruin them and die (see below).

Breeding season varies with the location within Australia, generally August to November in the south, and February to May, after the Wet Season, in the north. The nest is a shallow dish-shaped platform of sticks, grasses or reeds, located in trees and generally near a body of water such as river, swamp or lake.  Ibis commonly nest near other waterbirds such as Egrets, Herons, Spoonbills or Cormorants.  In fact if you look closely i the shot with the Ibis nesting, to the right, you will see a Little Cormorant.  

Two to three dull white eggs are laid measuring 65 mm × 44 mm.  The clutch is then incubated for 21–23 days. Hatchlings are altricial, that is, they are naked and helpless at birth, and take 48 days to fledge.

Alternate colloquial names include "Bin Chicken", "Dump Chook" or "Tip Turkey", from its habit of rummaging in garbage and "Sheep-bird".  I decided to go and have a coffee and as you can see I was joined by this Ibis who preferred a glass of milk.

He was determined to gobble up every last crumb of the lovely cake.

So it ever you are in Sydney, why not drop into the Botanical Gardens for Tea with a Ibis!

I hope you have enjoyed the start of my once a week Australian photographs. 

 Thanks for visiting today.

MANY THANKS TO ALL who visited any of my blogs yesterday.

I am linking this post to WBW Wild Bird Wednesday


  1. Ah, the ibis! What a wonderful bird - when they are not stealing your sandwiches or pecking at your kids! (Both true stories!)

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW

    Stewart M - Melbourne

    PS: I added another image to the WBW - I forgot last night!

  2. An interesting bird to say the least Margaret,nice pics.
    Take care, Gordon.

  3. Margaret, cool shots of the Ibis. I love the shots of the Ibis in the trees. Great post, have a happy day!

  4. good shots Margaret and I didn't know they lived so long, nor that they had a stench. When I'd seen them for coffee there, I thought the stench was from the bats in the trees nearby.... not a good combo' amongst diners to the cafeteria

  5. Fascinating post with some great photos Margaret. Really enjoyed reading about the Ibis :)

  6. What a strange bird! I`t allmost a bit scary- yet cute. Thank you for sharing :)

  7. Oh how fun!! Quite a cool looking bird too!

  8. What an unusual looking ibis!! Very fun:)

  9. Handsome bird!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  10. Margaret - not sure I'd want to have tea with an ibis. What strange lookers they are.

  11. How funny that it hopped up onto the table to help clean up. :))

  12. What an interesting bird! And did the ibis actually drink the milk? I'd be happy to share some crumbs with an ibis - but probably not a long-term arrangement. :-)

    And thank you for stopping in at Cranberry Morning.

  13. This was a very interesting post and nicely photographed. The bird is unusual and pretty, but it does seem a little on the pesty side.

  14. Hi Margaret..I don't know if you realize it our not,but you format is very large!!
    I can see only half of the photo's and writing!!
    The other half is of the page!!
    As I am writing it is huge!!
    You will be happy to know that your last comment did not go into my spam, but the previous one have!!
    Of what I could see the bird on the table is

  15. That's an interesting bird. I'm not sure I'd call it beautiful though.

  16. They are very curious birds. We have problems with them taking goldfish out of our ponds.

  17. oh, they are such scavengers! loved the photo of them all clustered in the tree!

  18. Tea with an ibis...what fun! Love the photos and the information about this bird.

  19. hehe, ibis heaven!! it's a wonder how those stringy legs can hold them up!!

  20. Thanks for an interesting blog post! I have never seen an Ibis.
    So the trees die, it's the same when the cormorants is sitting in big trees.
    Thanks for your comment, Margareth!
    Greetings Pia

  21. these photos could have been taken in the Camargue, the delta region of the Rhone, they fascinate me and I do love the saucy one on the table-

  22. What a beautiful place to live in, full of the White Ibis.

  23. A wonderful post.. I can't believe how much crockery appeared this week.

  24. Oh my GOODNESS, he really DID come to tea with you!! How long did he stay? I love his huge black feet and black head.

  25. I have to say that I am an Australian wildlife enthusiast and yet you've taught me a lot about our common Ibis that I didn't know - thank you! I'm always amused about the contrast between local reactions to these birds compared to how a tourist reacts. As their nickname suggests (I've also heard "Garbage Vulture"), they aren't much loved here, but nowhere else in the western world would you see such a large urban bird. A small flock occasionally drop in to my inner-city yard and it's always a pleasant sight!

  26. Very funny photo of the ibis on the table.

    I was amazed how common these were when I went to Australia, they were absolutely everywhere.........

  27. Gorgeous bird, Margaret... I laughed at him eating your cake ---every single little bite.... Love it!!!!

    Thanks for sharing.

  28. Beautiful photos of the ibis.
    Very special that they come to the table to eat the leftovers.
    Here the chewing and sparrows that do.

  29. Hello Margaret,
    What a funny shots!!
    Great to see this curious Ibis. Very nice!!

    Many greetings,

  30. Fantastic photograph ibis!
    I wonder if this is a bird, which the Egyptians worshiped?
    The first rag I see it.

  31. My favorite kind of post! I learned some things and got to look at beautiful photographs while I did so. Thanks!