They’ve been called ‘bin chickens’, ‘tip turkeys’ and ‘dumpster divers’ – but is the Australian White Ibis a more important bird than we think?
Every year we are involved in the National Ibis Community Survey to learn more about these native birds – but, they still don’t have a great reputation with many in the community. Do we need to re-think this?
A little bit about the Ibis
The Australian white ibis (Threskionis molucca) is a highly visible native water bird in New South Wales. Prior to the 1970s, the white ibis was rarely sighted in urban areas and did not breed in the Sydney region but followed the non-permanent waters of inland lakes and rivers.
Due to extensive droughts and changes in water regimes they have sought refuge in coastal wetlands. White ibis have adapted well to the constant water and food supply available in urban environments and they are now a common site in our parks where they feed on invertebrates (e.g. beetle larvae), crustaceans (e.g. yabbies) and – unfortunately – our handouts like bread.
You can learn more about the Australian White Ibis on Birds in Backyards.
Listen to this documentary
Recently Dr Ann Jones from ABC Radio National met Dr John Martin from Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands to chat about the Australian White Ibis. Have a listen to the show (online or download it).
- To download the episode or listen online, visit the Off Track program website
What can you do to help the ibis?
Do you think the Australian White Ibis gets a bad rap? Hearing more about this bird, has that changed your mind about its importance or role in our environment?
While we see the Australian White Ibis as an important part of our ecosystem, there are a few things park visitors can do to assist in managing the behaviour of these birds:
- Always put your rubbish – particularly food scraps – in the bin. Food left uncovered encourages scavenging.
- Never feed the birds. It develops bad habits and provides food that could be harmful or sickening to the bird.
- Always keep dogs on a leash in the on-leash areas. The ibis is a protected native bird and dog attack unfortunately causes unavoidable bird deaths.
Thanks for helping us manage our wildlife responsibly.