Straw-necked Ibis

Did you know?

The Straw-necked Ibis has been called the Farmer's Friend, because it eats crop pests such as grasshoppers and locusts.

Calls
Silent away from nest; grunts or croaks at nest and hoarse rolling calls in flight: 'u-u-uh'.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
59cm
Maximum Size: 
76cm
Average size: 
68cm
Breeding season: 
August to January in south; February to May in north
Clutch Size: 
Two to five, usually two to three.
Incubation: 
25 days
Nestling Period: 
35 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
NT: 
QLD: 
SA: 
VIC: 
WA: 
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Featured bird groups: 
Atlas Number: 
180
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Straw-necked Ibis is a large waterbird with a naked black head, long downcurved black bill and yellow throat plumes. It has a glossy blue-black back, with metallic purple, green and bronze sheen, a white nape and sides of neck and white underparts. Its preference for grassland insects such as grasshoppers and locusts have earnt it the name of Farmer's Friend.

Similar species: 

The strawlike neck feathers distinguish the Straw-necked Ibis from other ibises. When flying, it has a white body and black wings, while the Australian White Ibishas a black head with white body and wings.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Straw-necked Ibis is found across mainland Australia. It is vagrant to Tasmania and is also found in Indonesia, New Guinea, Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island.

Habitat: 

The Straw-necked Ibis prefers wet and dry grasslands, pastures, croplands and swamp or lagoon margins. It is rarely found on coastal shores, mudflats or mangroves and is generally less adaptable than the Australian White Ibis.

Seasonal movements: 

Highly nomadic, moving in search of suitable habitat.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Straw-necked Ibis feeds mainly on terrestrial invertebrates, especially grasshoppers and locusts. It will also take frogs, small reptiles and mammals. It forages by probing or takes prey from the surface of water bodies. It is rarely an opportunistic scavenger, unlike the Australian White Ibis.

Breeding: 

The Straw-necked Ibis forms large breeding colonies, often with Australian White Ibises. The low nests are large trampled platforms of reeds, rushes and sticks over water, often blending together to form one continuous platform, and are re-used over many years. Both sexes build nests, incubate eggs and feed the young.

Living with us

The Straw-necked Ibis may have benefited from increased irrigation in dry areas, however destruction of valuable freshwater breeding habitat and increased salinity may be negative impacts. It is valued as a feeder on insect pests, although it can do little to control locust plagues.

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