Sacred Ibis

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sacred Ibis


(Threskiornis aethiopica), a bird of the family Threskiornithidae of the order Ciconiiformes. It is about 75 cm long and has a long (17 cm) and slightly decurved bill. The plumage is white, with a blackish green iridescence on the wing tips. The head and neck are black and bare in the adult and feathered in the young.

The sacred ibis is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the southern Arabian Peninsula, and Madagascar. It was also distributed in Egypt until the 19th century. In the USSR it is accidental in the Caspian Sea region. In southern Africa and the Sudan it is migratory. In ancient Egypt it was considered sacred because its arrival coincided with the flooding of the Nile, which provided irrigation water for the fields.

The sacred ibis nests along shores in trees or bushes or on the ground; a clutch contains two or three eggs. The sacred ibis feeds on fish, small reptiles, insects, and mollusks.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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