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Waldrapp Ibis by Travis Murray

Ibis, Waldrapp

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Description

Waldrapp ibis are about 70-80 cm (about 20 inches) tall, weigh about 800-1400 grams (1.5 -3 pounds) with a wingspan of 120-140 cm (about 51 inches). The beak is red. The face is bald and the skin is red; there is a distinctive ruff of glossy, puffy black feathers around the neck. The rest of the feathers are a glossy black with an iridescent sheen. The feather color helps protect them at night from predators, as does the ruff which hides the red face.  The beak is a recurved shape similar to that of the sacred and scarlet ibis species. The males are slightly larger than the females. Juveniles are less glossy colored, and the neck ruff is wispier.

Classification

Class
Aves
Order
Pelecaniformes
Family
Threskiornithidae
Genus
Geronticus
Species
G. eremita
Conservation Status
Endangered

Key Facts

Height
70-80 cm (about 20 inches)
Weight
800-1400 grams (1.5-3 pounds)

The IUCN Red List classifies Geronticus eremita as Endangered. Classified as Critically Endangered since the early 1990s when the global population collapsed, as of 2018, the species has been downlisted to Endangered. While the population remains very small (an estimated 200-249 mature individuals) improved breeding success and management actions in several nations have led the population to stabilize. Over 90% of wild specimens are concentrated in one Moroccan breeding population, but human managed semi-wild populations can now be found in several other nations including Spain, Austria, Germany, and Turkey.

Threats to Geronticus eremita and its long-term viability are myriad and complicated. The population has been declining for several hundred years for as yet unconfirmed reasons. However the precipitous declines in the 1990s were certainly exacerbated by unsustainable hunting practices coupled with urban expansion and habitat loss.

Social Life
Waldrapp ibis live in colonies of about 3-40 birds. The eastern population of Morocco and Algeria is migratory, believed to winter farther north after breeding season. The western population tends to move south after breeding. The older pairs in the colony are usually the leaders.

Habitat and Range
The Waldrapp (northern bald) ibis lives in more rocky arid regions of Morocco and Algeria in northeast Africa and in the Middle East. They used to be more widespread in the Near and Middle East, southern Europe, and Egypt.

Diet
Waldrapp ibis forage in small loose flocks, probing the ground, sand, and vegetation with their sensitive beaks. Unlike many other ibis “cousins,” they do not wade in water, although they live near a water source. They eat insects, arthropods, caterpillars, small reptiles and birds, and some vegetable matter such as berries or aquatic rhizomes.

Lifespan
about 25 years.

Predators
Due the arid rocky areas where they live, the Waldrapp Ibis have few natural predators. The Brown- necked raven and Egyptian vulture are the most likely species to prey on Waldrapps. They remain susceptible to pollution, changes in climate, and habitat loss.

Reproduction
Waldrapp ibis pair bond. They are monogamous and mate for life. The male performs a “croop call,” which sounds like a cough, and by builds a nest to attract a female.
Sexual Maturity: about 3- 5 years.
Mating Season: Mid-February to March
Incubation: 24-28 days
No. of Young: The female lays 2-4 eggs on a loose platform of sticks lined with grass or straw, situated on a cliff or ledge, or in a cave. The chicks fledge at 43-47 days. Both parents care for the young, taking turns to forage for food and bringing it back to the chicks. They continue to assist their young until they reach maturity.

Information

Description

Waldrapp ibis are about 70-80 cm (about 20 inches) tall, weigh about 800-1400 grams (1.5 -3 pounds) with a wingspan of 120-140 cm (about 51 inches). The beak is red. The face is bald and the skin is red; there is a distinctive ruff of glossy, puffy black feathers around the neck. The rest of the feathers are a glossy black with an iridescent sheen. The feather color helps protect them at night from predators, as does the ruff which hides the red face.  The beak is a recurved shape similar to that of the sacred and scarlet ibis species. The males are slightly larger than the females. Juveniles are less glossy colored, and the neck ruff is wispier.

Classification

Class
Aves
Order
Pelecaniformes
Family
Threskiornithidae
Genus
Geronticus
Species
G. eremita
Conservation Status
Endangered

Key Facts

Height
70-80 cm (about 20 inches)
Weight
800-1400 grams (1.5-3 pounds)

The IUCN Red List classifies Geronticus eremita as Endangered. Classified as Critically Endangered since the early 1990s when the global population collapsed, as of 2018, the species has been downlisted to Endangered. While the population remains very small (an estimated 200-249 mature individuals) improved breeding success and management actions in several nations have led the population to stabilize. Over 90% of wild specimens are concentrated in one Moroccan breeding population, but human managed semi-wild populations can now be found in several other nations including Spain, Austria, Germany, and Turkey.

Threats to Geronticus eremita and its long-term viability are myriad and complicated. The population has been declining for several hundred years for as yet unconfirmed reasons. However the precipitous declines in the 1990s were certainly exacerbated by unsustainable hunting practices coupled with urban expansion and habitat loss.

Social Life
Waldrapp ibis live in colonies of about 3-40 birds. The eastern population of Morocco and Algeria is migratory, believed to winter farther north after breeding season. The western population tends to move south after breeding. The older pairs in the colony are usually the leaders.

Habitat and Range
The Waldrapp (northern bald) ibis lives in more rocky arid regions of Morocco and Algeria in northeast Africa and in the Middle East. They used to be more widespread in the Near and Middle East, southern Europe, and Egypt.

Diet
Waldrapp ibis forage in small loose flocks, probing the ground, sand, and vegetation with their sensitive beaks. Unlike many other ibis “cousins,” they do not wade in water, although they live near a water source. They eat insects, arthropods, caterpillars, small reptiles and birds, and some vegetable matter such as berries or aquatic rhizomes.

Lifespan
about 25 years.

Predators
Due the arid rocky areas where they live, the Waldrapp Ibis have few natural predators. The Brown- necked raven and Egyptian vulture are the most likely species to prey on Waldrapps. They remain susceptible to pollution, changes in climate, and habitat loss.

Reproduction
Waldrapp ibis pair bond. They are monogamous and mate for life. The male performs a “croop call,” which sounds like a cough, and by builds a nest to attract a female.
Sexual Maturity: about 3- 5 years.
Mating Season: Mid-February to March
Incubation: 24-28 days
No. of Young: The female lays 2-4 eggs on a loose platform of sticks lined with grass or straw, situated on a cliff or ledge, or in a cave. The chicks fledge at 43-47 days. Both parents care for the young, taking turns to forage for food and bringing it back to the chicks. They continue to assist their young until they reach maturity.