The breeding season for the Australian White Ibis, Threskiornis molucca, has started here in Brisbane. Couples are building nests with twigs and small branches, usually not far from water and high on trees like Mangroves, Palms and also thick Bamboo. Some may probably already have eggs or young hatchlings.
Once the jouveniles leave the nest, they are very easily distinguished from the audults, they have a shorter bill and a dark feathery head compared to the bald head and neck of audults. The new generations also have a much whiter colour compared to the 'dirty' white of their parents.
They have a very strong prehistoric look with their bald, wrinkly and scaly skin of head and neck. During the breeding season some magenta-carmine scales of skin appear at the back of audults' heads, as well as along the legs, their blue-black ornamental tertiary feathers become wider and shinier. They also seem to become more vocal and territorial or competitive, honking at each other very loudly.
They are opportunistic birds and they've adapted very very well to urban and suburban conditions, it looks like they are more common than crows and pigeons in Brisbane, invasive and shameless they often jump on cafe tables and walk among pedestrians across Queen Street Mall. Not very loved by people... but in the end they're just making the best out of what's available, aren't we doing just the same?
|An older ink sketch|