Bio Facts: Ibis, Hadada
Widespread throughout sub-Saharan African.
Damp ground along rivers and streams, prefers open woodlands, savannas and marshlands. Attracted to lakes and man-made irrigation areas, avoiding desert regions of North and Southwest Africa and thick-forested areas.
Short-legged, medium sized bird; back & mantle brown with a green to bronze iridescence in adults; head has prominent off-white stripe running across the cheek; bill is black with strong red marking at base of the upper mandible.
In the wild, the Hadada Ibis eats a variety of invertebrates – earthworms, beetles, butterflies, fly larvae, millipedes, water bugs and crustaceans. In captivity, it is fed Frugivore Diet, soaked bite-sized dog food, Bird of Prey Diet and smelt.
Some Hadada ibis maintain a pair bonding throughout the year. Commonly, a female, with her wings half-open, approaches a male and touches her beak to his beak. After this brief mutual beak-to-beak touching, she resumes feeding elsewhere among the party. Billing behavior of pairs includes rattling of beaks up and down and side-to-side while nodding heads.
Courtship includes the offering of sticks by each bird to the other, followed by neck intertwining, mutual preening, head shaking and jibbering of the lower mandible. Copulation follows these behaviors.
Nesting occurs solitarily in trees or bushes, often over or near water. Both parents care for the young. When chicks fledge (begin to fly), both parents take young to feeding areas as a family.
The social unit consists of feeding pairs, small groups or parties of up to 50 birds. Single birds have been seen feeding in shallow pools in the company of goliath herons, wood sandpipers, and greenshanks.
The Hadada ibis makes very noisy, yelping sounds. The esophagus can be inflated and serves as a resonating chamber to amplify the sound.
The Hadada ibis is the only ibis known to include fruit and vegetable matter in its diet.
This species has acclimated well to human habitation and has been part of the human culture for centuries. It is valued on cattle plantations and golf courses as an effective pest controller. The Hadada ibis will eat chaffer beetle larvae.
Over a majority of its range, the Hadada ibis is not subjected to persecution. Little is known of their wild numbers despite its wide range.
Jacksonville Zoo History:
The Jacksonville Zoo acquired the Hadada Ibis in February 1994.