NORTHERN BALD IBIS
Morocco, Syria e Turkey
small reptiles, insects, worms, scorpions and snails
Open areas and rocky walls
Incubation of 24-25 days 2-4 eggs
The northern bald ibis is a gregarious bird that weighs 1-1.5 kg and has a wingspan of up to 125 cm. Male and female show no obvious sexual dimorphism. The color of the plumage is raven black: green, purple and bronze metallic reflections characterize the chest and wings while the wing coverts are copper-red shaded. In adults, the head is almost plumage-free and has just a crown of long feathers; in youngs, it has a grey plumage and the crown of feathers is missing. The legs are red likewise the long beak, curved downwards, used to extract prey from the ground. The typical feeding habitat consists of meadows and cultivated fields. The species are considered synanthropic. Birds feed on small reptiles and insects as well as worms, scorpions and snails. They nest in colonies and tend to be monogamous. The reproductive habitat is characterized by steep rocky walls with niches to shelter in case of bad weather conditions. The female lays 2-4 greenish eggs with brown spots; both partners are actively involved in building the nest, brooding and breeding of the brood. The small ibis are able to fly after about 45-50 days. During their first autumn migration they join other expert adult subjects and learn the route to the overwintering district area. Track information is not genetically transmitted but it is learned. Time ago, the northern bald ibis was present in central Europe and along the Mediterranean coasts; still today they are a breeding species in Morocco, Syria and Turkey but they are non-migratory sedentary colonies. In the first half of the 17th century, the species disappeared from Europe, mainly due to the strong persecution by man.