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Northern Bald Ibis : species profile


Scientific name: Geronticus eremita

Common names:

Northern Bald Ibis, Hermit Ibis, Waldrapp (German) Ibis Chauve (French), Kelaynak (Turkish), Ibis eremita (Spanish), Aicha el Garaa, Aicha the Bald (Algeria), Abu Minjel, Al Criar (Morocco), Alnuq (Syria)

Size and weight:

70-80 cm, 1050-1300 g, birds of the eastern population slightly smaller;


long, robust and elongated body with a fairly long neck, bill long and curved; legs short and brownish-red; plumage black with a metallic green and  purple   sheen; adult birds with a bald head and throat which are deeply red; a distinct crest on the head; on the bald head a black or grey shaped pattern which differs in each specimen; juvenile birds (<2 years) with shorter head and neck feathers; males slightly larger in bill and wing length than females.
Fledglings are easy to distinguish from adult birds: their head is still covered with short grey feathers which have brown to white stripes. In yearlings these head feathers are just greenish grey. The crest is rather short and they miss the metallic purple or green reflections of the plumage. In their second and third year the young birds loose most of the feather on the head and are becoming bald. However on both side of the head and the throat some feather remain longer.  Most birds become sexually mature when 3-4 years old. However, there are reports of 2-year old NBI breeding successfully with an older and experienced partner.


mainly invertebrates including snails, scorpions, ants and their larvae, caterpillars, beetles, spiders, less frequently taken are crickets and locusts, sometimes consumes small vertebrates including lizards, small mammals, nestling birds, and rarely vegetable matter


most distinctive call "chrup", primarily used in contact with colony members; when excited or disturbed it uses the "Gruh"-call;


The Northern Bald Ibis is a long living species. In captivity birds live an average of 25-30 years.