SOUTHERN BALD IBIS (Geronticus calvus) ©Terry Chay or tychay via Flickr
Location: found in open grassland or semi-desert in the mountains of southern Africa
- The scientific name of this strange looking bird means ‘bald, old man’, and refers to its bare head and wrinkled skin on the face and neck.
- The plumage is a very dark green, with highlights of iridescent green, bronze and violet, and shimmering copper patches on its shoulders.
- This contrasts sharply with the whitish bare skin on the head and neck, and the bright red crown, which is distinctly domed.
- The southern bald ibis generally nests on cliffs along deep river gorges, or by waterfalls
- young were taken by the Zulu to be used as medicine,
- Boer farmers shot this ibis during the South African wars to supplement their meat supplies, and settlers hunted it for both food and its feathers.
- Despite now being protected across its range, local hunting pressure remains a threat.
- However, the main reason for the species’ decline in the early 20th century was the spread of karoo vegetation as a result of severe overgrazing of the grasslands.
- The planting of conifers in some areas, made large areas of grassland unsuitable for the ibis, and thus its range is now much smaller than it once was
Fact Source: http://www.arkive.org/southern-bald-ibis/geronticus-calvus/#text=All
the southern bald ibis (Geronticus calvus) is a wading bird from the open scrubland of southern Africa | +