Black-headed lbis

Black-headed Ibis  Threskiornis melanocephalus

Etymology :

  • Threskiornis : Greek word  threskeia religious worship; ornis The Sacred Ibis was venerated by the ancient Egyptians, who, by reason of its crescent-shaped bill and bright white plumage, considered it to represent Thoth the moon god.
  • Melanocephalus : Greek word melas-  black; kephalos -headed   { Black headed}

Vernacular names : Hindi: Munda, Safed baza, Didhar, Pun: Chitta buza, Bi: Kachator, Mundukh, Ben: Kastechara, Sada dochara, Ass: Boga akoki bog, Guj: Dholi kankanasar, Mar: Pandhra awaak, Kudal, Kalya Dokyacha sherati, Ta: Vellai aruval mookan, Te: Tella kankanam, Mal: Kashanti kokku, Kan: Kavi tale hakki, Bili ibis, Sinh: Tattu/Dahakatti kokka

Distribution in India: Resident of West, South and parts of North India.

Description: Size of 72-75 cm. The ornamental feathers are grey, not black.  It has very little black on tip of primaries, and none on secondaries. Non breeding adult largely lacks the grey scapulars and neck plumes. Some, but not all, breeding birds appear to develop a red patch on the bare skin of the hind neck. Immature has blackish, feathered head and neck; whitish on fore neck; bare skin of underwing black instead of red.

Habitat:It is found in Open country in marshes, swamps, flooded areas, margins of rivers and lakes, paddy fields and fallow land; also wet grasslands; less often intertidal mudflats, mangroves and brackish lagoons. It nests in wetlands.

Food Habits: It eats frogs, tadpoles, snails, adults and larvae of insects, and worms; also fish and crustaceans and sometimes plant matter. It usually feeds in medium sized to large groups; probes with bill in mud or shallow water; often submerges whole head and neck, when wading in shallow water. It sometimes associates with grazing buffalo, eating insects they flush.

Breeding Habits: They breed in Jun–Oct in North India and Nov–Mar in South India. They are colonial, often with other Storks and Cormorants. The nest is small cupped platform of sticks, usually unlined; situated in trees or shrubs over or near water. They lay a clutch of 3 eggs and the incubation period is 23–25 days .The fledging period is 40 days.