sacred ibis

Threskiornis aethiopicus

Common name

sacred ibis


It lives in a wide variety of habitats, generally found in the vicinity of rivers, streams, inland water masses and coastal areas of tropical and subtropical areas.








21-29 days

Number of offspring




They feed mainly on insects, arachnids, annelids, crustaceans and mollusks. Sometimes they feed on frogs, reptiles, fish, small birds and eggs.


20 years.

Biology and behavior

The sacred ibis is probably one of the most elegant animals in its group. They have a very stylized body, with a long neck and beak, the latter curved.

They are diurnal and gregarious birds, associating with other birds, such as marabouts, herons, cranes and storks. This gregarious tendency is more pronounced during breeding seasons and when feeding. At dusk they also associate with other birds to take shelter in the trees.

It is not a demanding bird when it comes to choosing a place to nest, it usually builds its nests in trees using branches, although they also make them on bushes, rocks or even on the ground. They lay pale blue eggs spotted with red. Incubation and care of the chicks is carried out by both members of the pair.

This species is an intra-African migratory bird, which makes nomadic movements, partially migratory movements or intra-African migratory movements of several hundred kilometers in the rainy season to reproduce.

Populations north of the equator migrate north, while those to the south migrate to more southern areas; both groups return to equatorial areas at the end of their breeding season. Some populations, for example in southern Africa, may be sedentary.

Although this bird has disappeared in Egypt, it is thriving in other countries. It has been accidentally introduced into some countries in the Mediterranean basin such as Spain and the south of France.


This species has become extinct in Egypt, where it was considered a sacred animal in ancient times, since its appearance coincided with the great floods of the Nile, hence its name.

It is represented in numerous murals and hieroglyphs, as it is the symbol of the god Thot. Mummified specimens abound in burial sites, with more than one and a half million Ibis being found in some tombs.

African savanna
Equatorial jungle
Madagascar Island