Fun Australian White Ibis Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Feb 21, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 18, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Australian White Ibis Fact File
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.4 Min

The Australian white ibis, a native of Australia, is a wading bird by nature. These birds are found in the temperate and tropical zone covering countries like Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Indonesia, and New Zealand. The ibis is a white bird with a black head and neck. The throat has a small patch of skin which is black as well.

Ibises are monogamous by nature and live in pairs in colonies in the grasslands. Feeding the Australian white ibis could be quite a task as their food mostly includes invertebrates. Although the preferred foods are frogs, crayfish, and insects.

During the breeding season, the male secures a pairing territory, while the female arrives at the nest with food. The gestation period lasts up to 21-23 days producing two to three eggs.

Read on to know more interesting facts about this bird. If you liked reading this, you might want to know about Hudsonian godwit and marbled godwit.

Australian White Ibis Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Australian white ibis?

The Australian white ibis (Threskiornis molucca) is a bird. It belongs to the family Threskiornithidae.

What class of animal does an Australian white ibis belong to?

The Australian white ibis (Threskiornis molucca) belongs to the Aves class of animals. These Australian wading birds live in a nest in large colonies.

How many Australian white ibises are there in the world?

There is no specific number of this species recorded. According to the ABC Science resource, 5,000 individuals were found to be living in Sydney, Australia.

Where does an Australian white ibis live?

The Australian white ibis (Threskiornis molucca) is a native of eastern, southern, and western Australia. They are not migratory by nature but on rare occasions migrate to breed.  The white ibis is found in adjacent countries like  Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Indonesia, and New Zealand.

What is an Australian white ibis's habitat?

The Australian white ibis (Threskiornis molucca) belongs primarily to the temperate and tropical zone. These birds are wading birds by nature. The Australian white ibis habitat is seen in the grasslands and near water bodies like lakes, rivers, and shores.

Who does Australian white ibis live with?

The Australian white ibis (Threskiornis molucca) can sometimes be seen staying in isolation. Being monogamous in nature they also roost with a partner in trees, in a nest in large colonies. The birds can be seen in small groups in pairs as well during the breeding season.

How long does an Australian white ibis live?

Australian white ibises have quite a long lifespan of about 28 years on average.

How do they reproduce?

Australian white ibises attain their sexual maturity by the age of three and are known to create long-lasting bonds with their mating partners. Ibises are monogamous by nature and have varying breeding seasons. Even though ibises are not migratory by nature, Australian white ibis migration happens during the breeding season in search of proper food and shelter. In the south, they breed from August to November whereas in the north, ibises breed from February to May.

The birds have their nest in large colonies. The nests are generally made near water bodies so the birds can feed themselves. Their range of food includes terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates and human scraps.  The female lays around two to three eggs and the incubation period lasts for about 21-23 days. After birth, it takes around 48-50 days for the hatchlings to be independent.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the Australian white ibises are in the category of Least Concern. The exact population of these birds is not known but according to research, their numbers are stable at the moment.  

Australian White Ibis Fun Facts

What does Australian white ibis look like?

Ibises are wading birds with some distinctive features making them an icon in Australian culture. The Australian white ibis has an entire body covered in white feathers with a black head and neck. After birth, the color of the wing changes from pinkish to white. They have a prominent down-curved bill that helps them while feeding on aquatic invertebrates. They have long black legs and the tail is covered with black feathers at the end.

How cute are they?

Needless to say, the ibis is extremely attractive and cute by appearance. Their gorgeous flight patterns help them to attract their mates. The white and black combination makes them a treat to a visitor's eyes when seen in local parks and sanctuaries.

How do they communicate?

Australian white ibises have a normal way of communicating with other birds in this species. In case of calling to mate or to warn members in their groups, they communicate by croaks which are drawn out.  They are loud enough to serve the purpose.

How big is an Australian white ibis?

Australian white ibises are not very large by structure. The straw necked ibis has an average weight of 49.3-88.1 oz (1400-2500g). These birds are quite tall and have a length of about 25.5-29.5 in (65-75 cm). Even though they are quite large in Australia, the birds are almost half the size of a great ibis.

How fast can an Australian white ibis move?

The ibis has an average wingspan of 43.3-49.2 in (110-125 cm). With this wingspan, they can fly pretty fast and it helps the ibis to catch fishes and frogs to feed themselves.

How much does an Australian white ibis weigh?

The Australian ibis has an average weight of 49.3-88.1 oz (1400-2500g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name assigned to the male and female of this species. They are generally referred to by the sex that the individuals belong to.

What would you call a baby Australian white ibis?

A baby ibis is called a hatchling.

What do they eat?

For the ibis, their food contains both aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates and human-based scraps. Their favorite foods are fish,  crayfish, and frogs.

Are they dangerous?

With a black head and neck, Australian ibises are not dangerous by nature. There are records of these birds snatching food from visitors at sanctuaries.

Would they make a good pet?

Since it is illegal to keep the ibis as a pet, sacred ibises are confined to wildlife only where they are well protected.

Did you know...

Ibises are known as the 'farmer's friend' at times because of their tendency to feed on locusts and on the ravaging hoards of insects.

According to legend, Australian white ibises came from Egypt. In Egypt, these ibises were worshipped and escaped from the zoo. In reality, these ibises first came to Australia in the '70s and colonies were established at Sydney Taronga Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria.

What are the different types of ibises?

The different types of ibis include African sacred ibis, Malagasy sacred ibis, American white ibis, straw-necked ibis, Réunion ibis, and the glossy ibis.

Why do Australian white ibises migrate?

The white ibis usually migrates during the breeding season in search for proper shelter and for adequate food.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these limpkin facts and snipe facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable australian white ibis coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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