We recently added the Northern Bald Ibis to Birdorable. This bird is a non-wading species of Ibis with a feather-free head. Along with the Southern Bald Ibis, these birds prefer arid landscape over wetlands, and will breed... Read more »
Northern Bald Ibis
The Northern Bald Ibis is a non-wading species of Ibis with a feather-free head. The species feeds primarily on lizards and beetles, and will also eat small mammals, invertebrates and even small birds. Along with the Southern Bald Ibis, these birds prefer arid landscape to wetlands and will breed on cliffs rather than in trees, separating them from other ibis species.
These large birds have black feathers with iridescence in shades of green and violet. They have scruffy crests on the back of the neck and red legs and bills.
The Northern Bald Ibis is a critically endangered species originally native to the Middle East, north Africa and south Europe. The species is no longer found in Europe and is unfortunately declining in its remaining range. The bulk of the population today is a 500+ bird group in Morocco. There are approximately 1100 Northern Bald Ibises living in captivity.
Interestingly, the Northern Bald Ibis became one of the world's first protected species by decree of the Archbishop Leonhard of Salzburg in 1504. Despite this status the species still died out in Austria, along with the rest of Europe.
Details & Statistics
The Northern Bald Ibis is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2015 by BirdLife International. This species has undergone a long-term decline and now has an extremely small population, with over 95% of truly wild birds concentrated in one subpopulation in Morocco. Numbers are currently increasing owing to management actions and consequent improved breeding success. However, this improvement in its status in Morocco is very recent and has not yet led to an increase in the number of colonies. In Syria its population appears to have declined dramatically in the past 30 years. The species is precautionarily retained as Critically Endangered for these reasons.