Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ABC Wednesday: I is for Ibis

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This is a Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber), I think that along with the Sacred Ibis it's the best known Ibis species. Their chicks are grey (like this) and like with flamingoes, the red colour is prodiced from crustaceans, a big part of their diet. The beak of an ibis is used to probe for worms and crabs in the mud, soil or in rock crevices, depending on where the bird lives.
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Ibises were sacred in Egypt and mummies have been found. The god Toth is shown with an Ibis head and the hieroglyph for Toth was an ibis and a scribe - Toth was the one who wrote down if a person's soul was light enough to pass into the afterlife. You can see a picture of the ceremony here

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a Hadada Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash), a South African species that is fairly common and often found in gardens and parks searching for earthworms and snails, probing for their prey in soil and leaflitter with their long beaks

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Here's yet another Ibis species, the northern Bald Ibis or Waldrapp (Geronticus eremita). They are very rare and the only ibis species not to live near water. There are about 500 birds left in the wild and they are bred in zoos and reintroduced into their old habitats, for example in Spain and Austria. First described in 1557, they died out in most of Europe in the 1700s and for a long time, pictures of the Waldrapp were thought to be mythical birds. There are many places in Austria and Bavaria with names that show that Waldrapps were common there, like Rappenschlucht or Rappenklamm (both meaning Rapp Gorge).

There are many more Ibis species and they share a family with spoonbills like this Roseate Spoonbill (Ajaja ajaja). Ibises and Spoonbills will also often nest together. The bill of a spoonbill is used to search for prey in water.
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Photos taken at Hagenbecks Tierpark, London Zoo and Tierpark Berlin.
What else does I stand for? Find out with ABC Wednesday

23 comments:

Carver said...

These are fantastic shots of the Ibis and a very interesting post. Great take on the letter I.

Mar said...

Interesting shots!! love your choice for i, ibis is such a unique bird.


ABC Wed: i

photowannabe said...

Interesting that a bird as colorful and vibrant started out dull and gray. Nice pictures.

Rumya said...

That was very interesting. Loved the Egyptian facts about the Ibis. Thank you for sharing!! :)

Nanka said...

Interesting read on the Ibis. Had never seen a scarlet Ibis.
Have a great week!!

Sylvia K said...

Terrific choice for the I Day and I love your photos and the variety of Ibis! Marvelous! Have a wonderful week!

Sylvia

RuneE said...

Here I found lots of new information - for instance I didn't know that ibises could be found as far north as Austria. Thank you!

Reader Wil said...

They are beautiful photos and it's interesting to read about this kind of bird. Thanks for sharing!

EG Wow said...

The ibis is a very interesting-looking bird. The red one is very colourful!

Jingle said...

cute bird.
what a apt take on i.

Anna said...

Wonderful choice of the bird Ibis for the letter 'I'. You are really doing an alphabet-animal-book!
Lovely pictures.
Best wishes,
Anna
Anna's abcWed rnd 7 post-'I'

Gramma Ann said...

What an interesting post today. The Ibis is a very colorful bird. I like the bright red one.

Linda said...

Oh what incredible shots of the ibis.

Linda
ABC Wednesday Team

Tumblewords: said...

Wonderful selection of Ibis. I've always found them fascinating!

Amy said...

Wow, Thanks for all the interesting information on the different ibis(s). This is one of the great things about ABC Wednesday - learning and appreciating more about our natural world.

Kay L. Davies said...

Fabulous photos. The scarlet ibis is gorgeous, and, as I already knew about the flamingo, I understand the diet contributing to the color, but this is SO beautiful.

Kay
Alberta, Canada

Roger Owen Green said...

such an odd looking bird; great shots

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Carol said...

How pretty is the scarlet Ibis, and what wonderful photos.

Leslie: said...

Funny but the word "ibis" always comes up in crossword puzzles but I never knew so much about them until reading this. Good post! :D

gospelwriter said...

amazing shots! they are such beautiful birds, one of a kind really

LisaF said...

I was hoping to get a shot of an Ibis for my unusual word post on a recent trip to a zoo, but didn't get a good shot. Your shots are great. I've always thought they were kinda cute. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Paula Scott said...

Wow-so, that's just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak in regards to ibis? I do love that first one. The scarlet one. I'm not sure if I've ever seen the scarlet one before.

ChrisJ said...

Really interesting. I didn't know there was a red ibis and that they get their color from what they eat. He is rather a beautiful bird -- not so much so when grey, brown or black.