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Sacred Ibis

Sacred Ibis
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-08-24
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/9.0, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-09-30 9:04
Viewed: 4983
Points: 36
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
On the borders of Lake Langano I photographed this Sacred Ibis. It’s a lake of 305 km2 and the only lake in Ethiopia which is free of bilharzia.

The Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) is a species of wading bird of the ibis family, Threskiornithidae, which breeds in sub-Saharan Africa, SE Iraq and formerly in Egypt, where it was venerated and often mummified as a symbol of the god Thoth. It has also been introduced into France, Italy, Spain, and the United States (S.Florida).

The bird nests in tree colonies, often with other large wading birds such as herons. It builds a stick nest often in a baobab and lays 2-3 eggs.
The Sacred Ibis occurs in marshy wetlands and mud flats, both inland and on the coast. It will also visit cultivation and rubbish dumps. It feeds on various fish, frogs and other water creatures, as well as insects. An adult individual is 68 cm long with all-white body plumage apart from dark plumes on the rump. The bald head and neck, thick curved bill and legs are black. The white wings show a black rear border in flight. Sexes are similar, but juveniles have dirty white plumage, a smaller bill and some feathering on the neck.

This bird is usually silent, but occasionally makes some croaking noises.

The introduced and rapidly growing populations in southern Europe are seen as a potential problem, since these large predators can devastate breeding colonies of species such as terns. They also compete successfully for nest sites with Cattle and Little Egrets. The adaptable Ibises supplement their diet by feeding at rubbish tips, which helps them to survive the winter in these temperate regions.

The Sacred Ibis is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

Sacred Ibis in myth and legend
Venerated and often mummified by Ancient Egyptians as a symbol of the god Thoth, the Ibis was according to Herodotus and Pliny the Elder also invoked against incursions of serpents. It was also said that the flies that brought pestilence died immediately upon propitiatory sacrifices of this bird (Pliny, Natural History Book X Chapter 41).

(Source: Wikipedia)

jaycee, siggi, nglen, robindb, crs, Amadeo, gracious, techranger, maurydv, Argus, Dis. Ac., Adanac, anel has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To vanderschelden: Sacred IbisPeterZ 1 10-03 13:14
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-09-30 10:53]

Hi Peter,

I'm not sure if I have seen a Sacred Ibis before. I love the way you caught him mid-step. He seems to be in a hurry to get somewhere. The browns, blacks and whites are wonderful - those tail feathers are beautiful. Excellent details of the face, eye, beak and plummage. It's wonderful to see him in this natural setting.


  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-09-30 10:59]

Hello Peter
Very good picture of this Ibis in action,the details and composition is amazing
Sharpness is great
Regards Siggi

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-09-30 11:01]

Hi Peter. You were able to see some wonderful bird on your trip. Once again a bird i have never seen. You have taken such a good close up of it. fine detail and natural colours. all with interesting notes TFS.

Hi Peter,

A "skoorsteenveer" in Afrikaans which means a chimney sweep due to the black soot on the otherwise white body. Well handled with detail, sharpness and good DOF to throw the background OOF. Nice highlight



  • Great 
  • crs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 922] (3551)
  • [2008-09-30 11:50]

Hello Peter,

Bird can be sharply seen and the light you have captured is fine. Colors of the plumage look natural and many color tones can be observed.

Thank you for sharing,

  • Great 
  • Amadeo Gold Star Critiquer [C: 168 W: 0 N: 755] (3323)
  • [2008-09-30 12:24]

Hola Peter, bonita fotografia, bien enfocada, naturales tonos de color y excelente exposición. Un saludo

Hello Peter,
Many thanks for sharing this beautiful image of the walking Ibis!
great pose with sharp details and wonderful colour
well done

Hi Peter,
lovely shot of this sacred ibis in motion. Wonderful details and nice composition.


Excellent capture of the Ibis... great detail and the composition in mid step very nicely done. TFS


Ciao Peter,
splendida immagine di questo Ibis catturato in una bella postura con un ottimo POV, moplto buona la definizione dei dettagli, molto bella la luce che rende colori dalle tonalità calde e crea un bel riflesso sull'occhio.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-10-01 12:30]

Hello again Peter,
A fine standard POV capture of a Sacred Ibis taken with excellent sharpnress and lighting against a fine contrasting BG.
It's amazing that the Ancient Egyptians should make this ugly bird sacred!
TFS this 'beauty'
Best wishes,

Hallo Peter,

Alweer een mooie foto en nu van de Ibis.
mooi licht en veel details in de veren.
Prima pov en dof.


  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-10-01 22:39]

Hi Peter

Lovely shot of this Sacred Ibis - very good detail and pose.


Hi Peter,
Excellent capture of this Sacred Ibis walking. Great pose and composition, sharp details and natural BG.

Hallo Peter,
Kijkt heel bezorgd en heeft haast. Waarschijnlijk naar Fortis toe....of was het ABN-Amro.:-)
Ik vind die kleuren mooi. 't Is niet echt zwart of wit; alsof ze gepatineerd zijn door stof, regen en wind. Zon ook zeker.
Heel mooie ibis.
Bedankt en groet,

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-10-03 19:17]

Hello Peter,
Thank you for sharing this splendid image of this ibis strolling along in search of food.

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-10-06 7:16]

Hello Peter! Great bird and a great picture! Sharp, perfectly exposed and a fantastic image, well done, thanks!


  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2008-10-07 5:23]

Hi Peter,
Interesting species of bird, the "silent" Ibis. I like this very vivid picture of this bird, seeming to walk around with a lot of determination. Amazing the variety of birds you have seen in Ethiopia.
Un grand merci

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