• Ibis - photo by Craig Easdown Birds and Animals

    What do you think about the Australian White Ibis?


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).


Click to listen to the Off Track episode on Australian White Ibis

Click to listen to the Off Track episode on Australian White Ibis


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:

  1. Always put your rubbish – particularly food scraps – in the bin. Food left uncovered encourages scavenging.
  2. Never feed the birds. It develops bad habits and provides food that could be harmful or sickening to the bird.
  3. 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.


Ibis takes flight at Duck Pond, Centennial Park

Ibis takes flight at Duck Pond, Centennial Park


Become an Insider


Similar Articles

  • Reconnect with the small birds of Centennial Park

    The ‘wild outer’ part of Centennial Park, outside the loop of Grand Drive, provides important habitat for native plants and animals, especially bird life. Centennial Parklands is one of the easiest urban birdwatching vantage points in Sydney, on an average day you can easily see 50 bird species over its 360 hectares. There are plenty of big birds […]

  • Five bouncing baby cygnets have arrived at Kippax Lake in Moore Park!

    We are thrilled to welcome five fluffy baby Black Swans or cygnets, to historic Kippax Lake in Moore Park. The adorable hatchlings are the result of a successful second year trial of a floating nesting pontoon in Kippax Lake and we couldn’t be more proud! Kippax Lake is an important heritage feature in Moore Park, and it […]

  • Image from Wikipedia
    See the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos!

    It’s the time of year that we often hear the screeching of the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. If you haven’t met this fascinating bird you’re missing out.

  • Baby birds leave their nests as summer arrives

    Baby birds around Sydney are making the transition from nestling to fledgling, trying out their wings and learning to fly. Young birds are often seen on the ground throughout late spring and early summer and this is a normal stage in their transition to adulthood. Centennial Parklands is a birdwatcher’s paradise with over 50 species […]