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Ecology of Ibis

Geoff Ross Dr Richard Major Dr John Martin 
Project partners:
Office of Environment & Heritage (NPWS), Australian Museum

Project aims

  • Assess the site-fidelity of adult ibis to urban breeding colonies;
  • Assess the natal philopatry of fledgling ibis to urban breeding colonies;
  • Assess the urban and natural ibis population;
  • Assess movements within the Sydney region and throughout the species distribution

Project Summary

The Australian white ibis is a native species that has shifted its population from degraded natural habitats to coastal refuges, commonly associated with urban areas. In urban areas ibis can be a nuisance, nesting in undesirable locations (residential dwellings, schools) and scavenging food (bins, landfills). To mitigate these issues permits allow the destruction of nests and eggs. The research we are conducting informs the conservation and management of this native species.

Research Update

Over 2000 ibis have been banded or wing-tagged, from this we have learnt about the birds’ site-fidelity, movements within and beyond the Sydney region and foraging preferences. The furthest movement we have recorded comes from a chick that was banded in 2004 within Centennial Park and was subsequently resighted in Townsville. Historical records include further dispersal movements by chicks to the Northern Territory and Papua New Guinea. Radio tracking has also identified birds moving to the landfills across the Sydney region, flying up to at least 70km per day. Report sightings -