Friday, 19 April 2013

Giant Ibis - National Bird of Cambodia

The giant ibis is critically endangered with just a tiny declining population as a result of habitat loss, hunting, disturbance and lowland deforestation. Nowadays, isolated breeding populations only persist in Cambodia’s Preah Vihear and Mondulkiri province where, with a bit of luck, giant ibis can be encountered at the dry forest’s many watering holes within the Eastern Plains Landscape.

Interesting & Amazing facts about Giant Ibis are:

  1. This ibis has recently been declared Cambodia's national bird, and conservation efforts are crucial to its protection.
  2. This is the only species in the monotypic genus Thaumatibis, and  a wading bird of the ibis family named Threskiornithidae.
  3. This is a lowland bird that occurs in marshes, swamps, lakes, wide rivers, flooded plains and semi-open forests as well as pools, ponds and seasonal water-meadows in denser deciduous forest.
  4. This huge ibis has a large repeated, loud, ringing call sounding like ‘a-leurk a-leurk’, mainly at dawn and dusk.
  5. The adult is dark with a naked, grey head and upper neck.
  6. There are dark bands across the back of the head and shoulder area and the pale silvery-grey wing tips also have black crossbars.
  7. The beak is yellowish-brown, the legs are orange, and the eyes are dark red.
  8. Juveniles have short black feathers on the back of the head down to the neck with shorter bills and brown eyes.
  9. Earthworm taken from their mounds in wet grasslands appears to be an important food source for nesting ibises of this species.
  10. The Giant Ibis is general territory and may remain with a family group throughout the year. However, in the dry season, when they are not nesting, groups of up to 7 individuals, sometimes likely unrelated, have been observed feeding together.
  11. It eats aquatic invertebrates, eels, crustaceans and small amphibians and reptiles. Insects such as locusts and cicadas are eaten regularly when abundant and seeds occasionally supplement the diet.
  12. The Giant Ibis has official protection from conservationists in both Laos and Cambodia. 

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