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Ibis: Southern bald ibis

Geronticus calvus
Bird

IUCN Status
A “vulnerable” species with probably less than 4,600 individuals in the wild but relatively safe and widespread in and around Lesotho and Swaziland.



Diet

Insects and some small vertebrates usually found in burnt grasslands & maize fields.

Habitat

A “vulnerable” species with probably less than 4,600 individuals in the wild but relatively safe and widespread in and around Lesotho and Swaziland.

Behaviour

Flock species of up to 100 birds which can migrate to and from previously grazed grasslands (nutritionally poor with low grass). Feed and roost in flocks.

Breeding

Cliff nester building stick nests (2 -3 eggs) on open cliff facing mountains and around river gorges and waterfalls. The nutrient poor grasslands are burnt regularly every three years in this area and their breeding cycle is linked to the spring and autumn grassland fires.

Fun Facts

This and the Northern Waldrapp ibis are the only 2 species of ibis to have no feathers on their head and face!

They breed on cliffs instead of trees and prefer an arid/dry habitat for foraging unlike all the other ibis species.

At The Zoo

This is an extremely rare species in captivity and really only Walsrode zoo in Germany exhibit this species other than here at Exmoor. We have two pairs (one breeding) and offspring have been sent to Calgary in Canada as part of the international breeding program.