There is a state-wide community survey of the Ibis underway today and NSW North Coast residents can help by keeping their eyes open.
The Australian white ibis, Threskionis molucca, is a highly visible native water bird in New South Wales.What do they look like?
- Like all ibises, the Australian white ibis has a large, curved beak designed for probing.
- Their heads and necks are featherless and black, except for horizontal lines on the back of the head that vary in colour from pale pink to red.
- Their bodies in contrast are mainly white, apart from black tips to the longest flight feathers, black lacelike wing feathers and highly visible bare patches under the wings and on the breast that also vary in colour from pale pink to red.
- The legs are reddish brown to black in colour.
- Prior to the 1970s, the Australian white ibis did not breed in the Sydney region but followed the non-permanent waters of inland lakes and rivers, due to the extensive droughts and changes in water regime they have sought refuge in the coastal wetlands. Ibises have adapted well to the constant water and food supply available in urban environments and they are now a common site in our parklands where they feed on invertebrates (beetles etc) and crustaceans (yabbies etc).
The National Parks and Wildlife Service is trying to get a better understanding of the distribution and abundance of Australian white ibis at a statewide level. This will help us to develop conservation practices for these birds. One of the questions we are attempting to answer is how many of these birds are actually in New South Wales?
Since 2003, we have been running community ibis surveys. The surveys have taken place on a single day in summer. We have asked members of the public to tell us about their ibis sightings in Sydney over the day. Information from community members will help us to understand and manage these distinctive birds.
The next survey is on Sunday 7 February 2010, and you're invited to participate! If you see any white ibis on this day, anywhere in NSW, please let us know.
We need to know how many birds you have seen, along with the location and time of day. Some birds may have coloured bands on their legs or coloured wing tags, as shown in the pictures. Please provide as many details as possible about the colour of the bands or tags and their location on the bird.
To send the information to us, you can:
- Use our online sighting form; or
- Phone the Environment Line: 1300 361 967 Mon-Fri only.