Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Straws in the dry grass

This summer, I've seen strings of straw-necked ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis) flying over the freeway but hadn't managed to spot them on the ground until very recently. They tend to be more nomadic than white ibis (T. molucca) and much less likely to be hanging around tips and city parks waiting for hand outs. I spotted this small group in a paddock near Point Cook. Unfortunately, I couldn't get close enough for a good photo. Each time I took a step towards them, they grunted at me and moved back.

They're rather striking birds with iridescent feathers on the back and wings and. at the base of the neck, a sheaf of buff-coloured plumes that look like ... well ... straw.

These ibis are widespread on the mainland (except for the central deserts) and are occasional visitors to Tasmania but do not breed there. They are also recorded from New Guinea but are apparently not resident.



Maybe you should have tried crawling thru the grass.

Snail said...


Not recommended in Australia in summer!

It was a bit too close to this warning sign for my liking.

budak said...

I thought it wonderful when I visited that ibises in Australia thrive amidst human areas, unlike other parts where they are so rare.

Saw a couple of interesting articles on Aussie avifauna:,20867,21017860-30417,00.html and,20867,21016646-30417,00.html

they forgot to mention that mynahs aka flying rats aren't Australian though.

Snail said...

Thanks for the links, Budak.

In that first story I think the reporter is confused between the introduced common mynahs and the native noisy miners, which are honeyeaters. The second reporter is on the ball.

Noisy miners have done very well out of humans and seem to be taking over the place. I went for a stroll in one of the larger parks the other weekend and noisy miners were everywhere.


Ah, snakes, of course. I have to remember that sign when I visit Australia one day.

Over here, I would be more concerned about getting ticks in tall grass.