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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Amaze-wing Facts About The Giant Ibis Bird

Read interesting Giant Ibis facts on Kidadl.

The Giant Ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea) is the only wading bird in the monotypic Thaumatibis genus and Threskiornithidae family. They were recently declared as Cambodia's National Bird. They are the only member of the Thaumatibis genus. There are about 28 varieties of species of ibises. It is restricted to northern Cambodia, and there are only a few of them in southern Laos. These species are endangered, with only 100 pairs surviving in the world. The giant ibis bird is also known as 'cocos,' 'corocoros,' and 'bandurrias.' These birds resemble herons and also share a few behavioral traits and habitats with them. They are also similar to storks. The spatulas are the closest relatives of the giant ibis. Efforts are being done to increase the population of these bird species. The reasons behind the decline of these species are hunting, deforestation, and more. They can be encountered near watering holes of dry forests with a bit of luck.  

If you enjoy reading about the Giant Ibis, you may also learn about the Sacred Ibis and Glossy Ibis with our facts articles.

Giant Ibis Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Giant Ibis?

The Giant Ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea) is a large-sized water bird, which is now on the red list of threatened species. As the name suggests, they are the largest of the Ibis group. These bird species are shy and feed in secluded forests. These monotypic wading birds are territorial species.

What class of animal does a Giant Ibis belong to?

Cambodia's national bird is of the Aves class of animals.

How many Giant Ibises are there in the world?

The Giant Ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea) population in the world is very low. There are about 200 adults or 300 young and adults.

Where does a Giant Ibis live?

In the past, these species occupied a wide range in Southeast Asia. Until the '20s, they were common in Mekong Delta, where the population faced a decline. The Giant Ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea) population occupies a range of areas like Central and northern Cambodia, Eastern Thailand, Southern Vietnam, and Southern Laos.

What is a Giant Ibis' habitat?

The Giant Ibis bird's habitat range includes lakes, marshes, swamps, wide rivers, semi-open forests, lowlands, pools, and flooded plains. Another habitat of these species is seasonal water-meadows in the denser deciduous forest and dipterocarp lowland forest. One of the ibises was collected in a Malay paddy field. They depend on seasonal mud in seasonal pools and plains. They build nests on trees.

Who do Giant Ibises live with?

Cambodia's national bird species live in small groups, in pairs, or single. In the non-breeding dry season, they are found in small flocks of up to seven species.

How long does a Giant Ibis live?

On average, the lifespan range of all the Ibises is between 16-27 years. The data on the lifespan of giant ibis is not available.

How do they reproduce?

This endangered species breeds in wet seasons, unlike other birds. There is only a little information about the breeding of these species. These Cambodian national birds construct cup-shaped and shallow platform nests with sticks, reeds, or grasses on trees near a water body. These nests are reused. The females lay a clutch of two to four eggs.

What is their conservation status?

This Cambodian national bird's conservation status is Critically Endangered on the IUCN red list. The main reasons for the decline in their population are epidemic clear-cutting of forest for teak plantation, wood pulp, rubber, cassava, and drainage of the wetlands for cultivation use. Habitat loss, hunting for meat, and deforestation are also the cause of their conservation status. The lowland forest clearing, including northern plains for agro-industrial use, affects their population. Conservation efforts are undertaken to restore the population.

Giant Ibis Fun Facts

What do Giant Ibises look like?

These critically endangered ibis species are the largest of the Ibises. These ibis species are dark grayish-brown and have gray naked heads and upper necks. The shoulder area and the back of their head have dark bands. They have a wing cord of about 20.6-22.4 in (52.3-57 cm), and a tarsus of about 4.3 in (11 cm). They have a culmen of about 8.2-9.2 in (20.8-23.4 cm), and tail of about 12 in (30 cm).  There are crossbars on their pale silvery-gray wingtips. They have dark red eyes, orange legs, and long yellowish-brown beaks. The young ones have short black feathers on the head running down till the neck with brown eyes and short bills.

The Giant Ibis are part of family groups throughout the year.
* Please note that this is an image of a scarlet ibis, one of the members of the ibis group. If you have an image of a Giant Ibis please let us know at [email protected]

How cute are they?

According to many people, these gray birds are not cute.

How do they communicate?

They have a loud ringing call that goes 'a-leurk, a-leurk' at dawn and dusk.

How big is a Giant Ibis?

These critically endangered species are 40-41.5 in (102-106 cm) long and  39 in (100 cm) tall. These species are twice the size of the second-largest Ibis.

How fast can a Giant Ibis move?

The data on this bird's flight speed is not available.

How much does a Giant Ibis weigh?

These critically endangered species weigh up to 9.3 lb (4.2 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name given to a male or a female.

What would you call a baby Giant Ibis?

There is no specific name given to a baby giant ibis.

What do they eat?

These critically endangered species feed on aquatic eels, crustaceans, invertebrates, small reptiles, and amphibians. They eat locusts, cicadas, earthworms, seeds, frogs, and mole-crickets. In shallow waters, they forage on the muddy substrate.

Are they dangerous?

No. They are not dangerous. These endangered species do not attack unless they feel threatened or provoked.

Would they make a good pet?

No. They would not make a good pet. They are an endangered species that needs to be conserved in its natural habitat.

Did you know...

In the year 2013, the 'Giant Ibis Transport' agreed to provide funds for three years for the conservation efforts and took the role of Species Champion.

Tourism also plays a huge role in conserving these animals.

The most colorful Ibis is the Scarlet Ibis. They get their color from the crustaceans and shrimps they feed on.

Can Giant Ibises fly?

Yes, giant ibises can fly. While flying, they outstretch their neck in a V-formation. There were few extinct species of the Ibis group that could not fly, but all the living ibises can fly.

Saving the Giant Ibis

The giant ibis is a Critically Endangered species as declared by the IUCN red list. Hunting and deforestation are the main causes of their decline. In 1994, the hunting of these species was banned in Cambodia. A plan called the giant ibis national action plan aims to increase or stabilize the population of Ibises by 2025. The plan involves:

-Increasing the breeding and survival success rates, they have implemented management mediation.

-Conducting research to create awareness about conservation actions.

-Protection of the habitats where these species are surviving.

Other actions are being taken to protect the breeding and foraging habitats. The Forestry Administration and Ministry of Environment in Cambodia are working with organizations like World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, BirdLife International, and many more to protect these species.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the greater flamingo, or common kingfisher.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Giant ibis coloring pages.

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