Fun Sacred Ibis Facts For Kids

Aashita Dhingra
Oct 20, 2022 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Go through these Sacred Ibis facts to know more about this species.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.1 Min

The Sacred Ibis, Threskiornis aethiopicus, belongs to the Threskiornithidae family. It belongs to the class Aves order.

As it is extensively found in the south of the Sahara in Africa, it is also known as the African Sacred Ibis. The habitat is freshwater wetlands, grasslands, and cultivated fields. It has a white plumage with black plumes on the back.

The eyes are also black and it has a long and curved bill. Its legs are long and the feet are webbed.

Sacred Ibises breed yearly in nesting colonies and breeding takes place from March-August in Africa and from April-May in Iraq. Females lay two to five eggs. Incubation takes place for around 28-29 days.

The young are taken care of and fed by both parents. The diet of Sacred Ibis, Threskiornis aethiopicus as it is scientifically known, includes insects, amphibians, crustaceans, and mollusks.

Its food also includes frogs, reptiles, and eggs. The food pattern might slightly change during the winter season.

The conservation status of this species is Least Concern but this species is protected in Australia. There is a myth about the Ibis that it is native to Egypt and was introduced in Australia but it is not true. The Australian White Ibis is native to Australia and the Sacred Ibis holds significance in ancient Egypt.

The Ibises have been also introduced in France and other parts of Europe. It is quite interesting to know about these Ibises and if you are interested, read about African pygmy goose and Glossy Ibis too.

Sacred Ibis Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a sacred ibis?

The Sacred Ibis is a bird.

What class of animal does a sacred ibis belong to?

The Sacred Ibis belongs to the class Aves order of birds.

How many sacred ibises are there in the world?

The global population of this bird is estimated to be around 200000-450000 individuals but it is recorded to be declining.

Where does a sacred ibis live?

Sacred Ibises are found in wetlands like swamps and marshes. The largest population has been recorded in Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. These have also been recorded in Iran and Iraq.

What is a sacred ibis's habitat?

Sacred Ibises inhabit freshwater wetlands like swamps, marshes, saltpans, farm dams, rivers in open forests, grasslands, cultivated fields, coastal lagoons, intertidal areas, mangroves, and offshore islands.

Who do sacred ibises live with?

Sacred Ibises can be found alone or in small groups and during breeding can be found in large colonies.

How long does a sacred ibis live?

Sacred Ibises can live up to 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

Sacred Ibises breed yearly in nesting colonies and breeding takes place from March-August in Africa and from April-May in Iraq. During the breeding season, the males select a spot and form pairing territories.

Males stand with wings held downwards and rectrices spread. Other males and females arrive, females choose their pairs while some males fight for the territories by striking their bills and make squealing noises. The pairs move to nearby nesting areas.

Females lay two to five eggs. Incubation takes place for around 28 days. The eggs are dull white and oval-shaped.

Both the male and female take turns to guard the young and both the parents feed offsprings also. Fledging takes place 35-40 days after hatching and soon become independent.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of this bird is Least Concern. They are, however, a protected species in Australia and their numbers have seen a decline.  

Sacred Ibis Fun Fact

What do sacred ibises look like?

The plumage of this Ibis is white with black plumes on the lower side of the back. It has a small head and a slender and curved neck which is black in color.

The eyes of this bird are also black in color and the bill is long, slender, and downward curved. The legs are also long and black and partially webbed.

The wingtips of the primary wings are black and display as a black border to the rear of the white wings. Bare red skin is slightly visible on the breast and the underside of the wings. Juveniles have a feathered head and neck with similar colors as adults.

Males tend to be slightly larger than females. There is no other seasonal variation or sexual dimorphism.

The bill and the legs of this Ibis are some of its recognizable features.

How cute are they?

Some consider this species to be cute, although they are probably more interesting looks-wise than cute.

How do they communicate?

These birds generally are known to be quiet birds but they tend to produce vocalizations during the breeding season. Both females and males produce squeals, moans, and wheezes.

Females make some noises after the nest is made to attract males, which is followed by copulation. Adults make some noises to call the young ones back to the nest and for feeding. Sometimes, they are also known to make a loud croak during flight.

How big is a sacred ibis?

This species can weigh around 3.3 lb (1.5 kg) and their length ranges from 25-29.5 in (650-750 mm).

How fast can a sacred ibis fly?

The exact speed is unknown but these birds are known to be good flyers.

How much does a sacred ibis weigh?

This species can weigh around 3.3 lb (1.5 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for the male and female of the species.

What would you call a baby sacred ibis?

There is no particular name for a baby Sacred Ibis. In general, the young of birds are called chicks.

What do they eat?

The diet of these birds primarily includes insects, arachnids, annelids, crustaceans, and mollusks. It has been also observed and recorded that it also feeds on frogs, reptiles, fish, young birds, eggs, and carrion. This bird also uses its long bill to explore the soil to find invertebrates like earthworms.

Are they dangerous?

These species are not dangerous to humans except they may carry diseases sometimes.

Would they make a good pet?

These birds are quite uncommon as pets but it can be kept as a pet in some countries while in certain other countries like Australia, it is protected and cannot be kept as a pet. These birds would not make good pets as they have extensive requirements and these birds have a habit of being in flocks.

It would be more suitable and appropriate to leave the Sacred Ibis to the wild.

Did you know...

This species is gregarious and lives, travels, and breeds in flocks. In-flight, these birds form diagonal lines, V-formations, which reduces wind resistance for trailing birds. When the front ibis gets tired, it goes to the back of the formation and other ibises take their place.

Ancient Egyptians worshipped this bird as the god Thoth and this bird was supposed to preserve the country from plagues and serpents and was often mummified with the pharaohs.

The fossil records of these species are around 60 million years old.

The male and female take turns to guard the nest and protect the chicks until the young can defend themselves. Both the parents feed the chicks.

These birds supplement their diet by feeding at rubbish tips, this helps them survive in winters.

Ibises may allow pathogens transmitted through feces like salmonella, to build up and eventually pose risk to other animals and humans.

Other common names include the African Sacred Ibis, Threskiornis aethiopicus (scientific name).

Are sacred ibises native to Australia?

The Australian White Ibis has entirely white plumage and is native to Australia and is closely related to the African Sacred Ibis of the family Threskiornithidae.

Is the sacred ibis extinct in Egypt?

This bird holds significance in Egypt. The ancient Egyptians worshipped the ibis as the god Thoth, god of magic and wisdom. Several birds were mummified with the kings. This bird went extinct in the 19th century in Egypt.  

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 indri or kagu.

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

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

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Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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