Friday, 24 August 2012

African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus)

OTHER NAMES: Sacred Ibis
Latin Etymology: Threskiornis ("religious worship bird") aethiopicus ("Ethiopian")
 Adult Sacred Ibis (probably subspecies T. a. aethiopicus) at Stanwick Lakes - August 2012

Featured Subspecies: Threskiornis aethiopicus aethiopicus (?)
Weight: 1.5kg  /  Length: 65-89cm  /  Wingspan: 112-124cm
NO UK STATUS / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Sacred Ibis holds a fairly dubious spot on this blog due to this individuals potentially complex origin: the general assumed origin of any Sacred Ibis in the UK is that of an escapee from a collection - however, as this individual apparently has no rings to identify its origin as definitely captive, I may as well discuss the alternative. 

Sacred Ibis are native to Africa, but not Europe, however, their popularity as a bird for collections and having the specimens free flying has, inevitably, led to escapees - this is particularly an issue in France and Italy where not only have individuals escaped but enough have done so that there is now a viable breeding population which has become a bit of a conservation risk due to Ibises taste for eating the eggs of other birds - they have been known to decimate tern colonies and, still on the increase, they may need to be culled to ensure the survival of native species.   It's not beyond reason that this bird could have come from one of these populations and if so, is is as valid an addition to this blog as Ring-necked Parakeets, Ruddy Duck and Little Owl.

Ammendment: This individual was later confirmed as an escapee.

Related Species:
Family: Threskiornithidae
Genus: Threskiornis
Subspecies: T. a. aethiopicus, T. a. bernieri, T. a. abbotti

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Only present as an escapee, though vagrants may be possible with it's expanding range
 - A single escapee bird seen at Stanwick Lakes in August 2012,

Further Notes: 
BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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