Australian White Ibis

The Australian white ibis (Threskiornis molucca) is a large white bird with a bare black head and neck, long, downward curved strong black bill - longer in males. Otherwise the sexes are similar. The flight feathers have black tips with a bunch of lace-like black plumes over the yellowish white tail. Pink bands on the back of the head appear in breeding season.

Australian white ibis are seen singly or in flocks which may contain hundreds or more. They fly in lines or "V"s with quick wing beats and glides, often with straw-necked ibis.

The Australian white ibis feeds mainly in water on crustaceans, water insects, fish, snails and occasionally venomous snakes, but frequents grasslands, irrigated pastures, sewage ponds, and rubbish dumps - hence often has dirty plumage.

It breeds from June to December in southern Australia. The nest is a compact shallow cup of sticks, reeds etc in colonies over water in dense trees or on trampled reeds, rushes and mangroves. There are 2 to 4 eggs. (Contributed by Jo G.)