Friday, June 8, 2012

Underneath Spanish Moss (Part 3 of 5): White Ibis

Everyone has different ways of "watching" birds. Some are leisure birders, they enjoy backyard bird watching and create a wonderful backyard habitat for resident birds; some like to photograph wild bird and they don't know much about birds other than snapping something beautiful; some birders chase birds for the purpose of "Big Year"; some like to pursuit rare or vagrant birds and will drive hundreds of miles to see only that particular wandering species. To me, the most amazing part of bird watching is knowing how diverse they are (there are about a little under 10,000 species) and how environmental changes and habitat loss might have impacted on them.

White Ibis, Jekyll Island ..Click image to enlarge.

In this post, I'd like to present you with White Ibis (Eudocimus albus). White Ibis is a big wading bird, it's about 2 feet tall with a wingspan over 3 feet long. Adult has a white body with black at wing tips. Breeding adult has a red face and red feet as seen in the above photo. The first time I saw ibises was walking with my family along Tamsui River, Taipei. Five huge birds flew over our heads and landed somewhere near Guandu Plain,  a must-visit birding hot spot for every birder who visits Taipei. Later on I learned that the huge birds we saw were African Sacred Ibises, which formerly breed in Egypt and were venerated and representing Egyptian God Thoth, now extinct in modern Egypt. You might ask why were African Sacred Ibises doing in Taipei? That will be another post you don't want to miss it :)

White Ibises prefer wetlands, freshwater and salt marshes or mudflats. 
White Ibis has a decurved bill and breeds in deep south. I was so thrilled to see hundreds of them building nests and caring young at their favorite habitat. Male will bring nesting material and female builds the nest. Both parent incubate and they will exchange their duty by exchanging nesting material. Another interesting fact is that ibises make their daily movement between their feeding site during the day and the roosting site at night. We really don't know why they make so much trouble by flying back and forth. Human, in a way, is the same. Most of us go to work and get stuck on highway for hours in the morning. At dusk, we all come home, again, stuck in traffic for hours. Just look at New York City's traffic and you will get my point. The only difference between ibises and human is that these birds fly with confidence and discipline and, we, on the other hand, are stuck on roads, burning more gasoline, creating more air pollution and the worse case, texting while driving that might eventually cause someone lose a life. -- Linda

Also see other 4 posts of "Underneath Spanish Moss":
Part 1 of 5: Anhinga
Part 2 of 5: Heron
Part 4 of 5: Wood Stork
Part 5 of 5


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  1. Great photos Linda and like how you added all the information about the subject,well done..

    Greg Sujecki

  2. Thanks Greg!My hope is for readers not only to enjoy my posts but also get to know bird's life and behavior and further more to protect the habitats they belong :) Have a great weekend!


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