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