Waldrapp ibis

Geronticus eremita

Irish Name: Íbis mhaol tuaisceartach
IUCN Status: Critically Endangered

The waldrapp ibis has glossy black feathers, a long curved red beak, and an unfeathered pink face and head. They also have striking blue-ish purple feathers with a green tone.

Waldrapp ibis

Geronticus eremita

Irish Name: Íbis mhaol tuaisceartach
IUCN Status: Critically Endangered

The waldrapp ibis has glossy black feathers, a long curved red beak, and an unfeathered pink face and head. They also have striking blue-ish purple feathers with a green tone.

General Information

Where do they live? (Natural habitat)

The waldrapp ibis is found in coastal areas, near the banks of rivers, in rocky areas and on cliffs in Morocco, Turkey and Syria.

How long do they live?

They live around 10-15 years in the wild, and up to 25 years in zoos.

What do they eat?

Waldrapp ibis are omnivores (eat both plants and meat). Their diet is made up of insects, lizards, snakes, worms, berries, shoots, aquatic plants, small rodents and small birds.

Closest related species/sister species

The closest relative of the waldrapp ibis (also known as the northern bald ibis) is the southern bald ibis, the only other member of the Geronticus genus. The southern bald ibis is native to South Africa.

Group name

Flock

Zoo Location

Lower Zoo

Animal class

Aves

Animal order

Pelecaniformes

Fun Facts

Wading

Despite usually living near water, and unlike most members of the Ibis family, the waldrapp ibis is a non-wading bird.

Old Man

The waldrapp ibis’ genus name Geronticus derives from the Greek for "old man", a reference to their wrinkled bald heads.

1.8 Million Years on Earth

Thanks to fossil records, we know that bald ibises have been around for at least 1.8 million years!

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Family Life

Waldrapp ibis are monogamous, meaning they only have one mate during their lifetime. They breed in colonies on coastal or mountain cliff edges. After the eggs are laid, both the male and female care for them during incubation and after hatching, taking turns to scavenge for food.

Baby name

Chick

Gestation period

25 days of incubation, both parents sit on the eggs

Number of young at birth

2 - 4 eggs in a clutch

Age at maturity

3 - 5 years

Size adult

70-80 cm in length and 1-1.3 kg in weight

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Conservation

Endangered

Due to successful conservation actions, the waldrapp ibis has been reclassified as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, having been previously classified as Critically Endangered. However, their population size is still very small and conservation threats still remain.

Current population estimate

Approximately 200-250 individuals

Threats

Threats facing the waldrapp ibis include habitat destruction and disturbance, poaching, loss of eggs and chicks to predators (ravens and vultures), and use of pesticides.

What is Dublin Zoo doing?

Dublin Zoo is part of a breeding programme for this species. We have funded a project in Morocco that allows waldrapp ibis to be tracked via satellite to monitor their behaviour so that they can be better protected.

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FAQs

  • What do waldrapp ibis eat?

    Waldrapp ibis are omnivores (eat both plants and meat). Their diet is made up of insects, lizards, snakes, worms, berries, shoots, aquatic plants, small rodents and small birds.

  • What is the plural of ibis?

    The plural of ibis is ibis or ibises, though in older texts you might see “ibides” or “ibes”.

  • Where do ibis live?

    The waldrapp ibis is found in coastal areas and on cliffs in Morocco, Turkey and Syria.

  • What is a group of ibis called?

    Usually a group of ibis are called a flock.

  • Are ibis birds native to Australia?

    The waldrapp ibis is not native to Australia. However, there is another species of ibis, the Australian white ibis, which as its name suggests is native to Australia.

  • Can ibis fly?

    Waldrapp ibis can fly. All living ibis species can fly.

  • Is an ibis a crane?

    Cranes and ibis are from separate orders and are therefore unrelated. Ibis are more closely related to pelicans and herons.

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