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The Zoo has 11 Waldrapp ibis, all identified by name and leg band color.
They are: Wesley, Lily, Janine, Sarah, Gurk, Guinness, Pip, Lance, Darren, Graham, and Penny.
Penny is the youngest of the group, hatching on February 24, 2016, to Lance and Janine. Wesley is the oldest ibis in our group; he hatched on May 12, 1989, at the Bronx Zoo.
The ibis exhibit at the south end of the Zoo
The Waldrapp ibis, also known as the hermit ibis or the northern bald ibis, may not be the most attractive bird, but their strong character and bizarre appearance give them unique appeal. They look almost comical with their bald heads, long red beaks and crazy crest feathers going every which way. Their black feathers take on brilliant sheens of purple, green and orange when viewed in bright sunlight. Telling male and female ibis apart is difficult with the males being only slightly larger with slightly longer beaks.
Unlike most species of ibis that live in wetlands, waldrapp ibis prefer dryer habitat. They seek water only for drinking and bathing and forage in grassy areas. They roost and breed on rocky slopes.
In the wild, the Waldrapp ibis is estimated to live for about 25 years. In captivity, they can live more than 30 years.
Like most species of ibis, the Waldrapp ibis breeds in large colonies. They reach breeding age at about 3 years. A male and female will form a pairbond and both help to build the nest. They build nests from sticks and grasses on cliff ledges where they lay their clutch of 2 to 4 eggs. The eggs hatch in 24 to 28 days and the babies are ready for their first flight after about 43 days. Both parents assist in caring for and feeding the young by regurgitating food to the chicks.
Waldrapp ibis have a wide variety of vocalizations--some sound like slurping noises--and can often be heard "arguing" over favorite sunbathing spots or perches. Sunbathing is a favorite pastime. Even in the summer they can be seen with their wings outstretched on the ground panting away in the hot sun.
Waldrapp ibis stand approximately 14 inches tall with a total body length of about 27 inches. They have a wingspan of approximately 50 inches.
Waldrapp ibis weigh between 2.5 to 3 pounds.
In the wild, the Waldrapp ibis probe in the sand and soil with their long curved beaks searching for grubs, beetles, snails, grasshoppers, ants, scorpions or any small mammals or lizard. In the Zoo, our ibis are fed a nutritionally balanced ground meat, small mice and a variety of insects.
Cliffs and coastline of Morocco, Syria
On the 2010 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Waldrapp ibis is Critically Endangered.
To learn more about the conservation efforts at the Philadelphia Zoo, click here.
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