Saturday, October 16, 2010

Australian white ibis

The Australian white ibis (Threskiornis molucca) is common throughout Australia.  It is a species of wading bird and is also known as the sheep bird.

Physical Features
The Australian white ibis has a long, black beak with the face the same color.  They measure about 30 inches and have a beak which is about 7 inches long.  Males weigh 2.5 kilograms while the smaller females weigh about 1.8 kilograms.  They have bald heads.  Most juveniles have feathered heads.  Immature specimens have a shorter beak.  They communicate with other birds by producing a long croak.  They can live for 28 years.

The Australian white ibis is a member of the family Threskiornithidae and has two subspecies recognized.  These are the T. m. molucca  and the T. m. pygmaeus.  The Australian white ibis was first described by  Georges Cuvier in 1829.  It is part of the superspecies complex along with the Black headed ibis and the sacred ibis.

The Australian white ibis mainly feeds on fish, frogs and insects.  Sometimes, when it enters cities, it will mainly eat food from the garbage cans.

They are found in the north and eastern parts of Australia.  They are found in Wollongong, Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville and Gold Coast.  

Conservation status 
The Australian white ibis is not threatened and has an estimated population of 12000 breeding pairs.

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