Skip to main content

Have you seen the Australian White Ibis in the Hills?

Exploring the enigmatic Australian White Ibis, its habitat, food source, movement and recent appearance in the Adelaide Hills.

Australian White Ibis Bird

Have you seen the Australian White Ibis in the Hills?

The Australian White Ibis, scientifically known as Threskiornis molucca, is a sizable native wading bird that gracefully traverses the wetter regions of Australia.

Classified as a protected species, these elegant birds are specifically listed under the National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1972, in South Australia.

Primarily inhabitants of wetlands and sheltered marine environments, these birds have adapted to diverse surroundings, including human-created habitats such as rubbish dumps, gardens, parks, and sewage ponds.

Despite their native charm, along the East Coast of Australia, they've earned the unfortunate reputation of being perceived as pests, often causing disturbances by soiling water and grass with their droppings, toppling over rubbish bins, and foraging for food amidst park users, who often give them the unfortunate name of 'Bin Chickens'.

The migration of ibises into more urbanized areas is a consequence of various factors, primarily driven by the loss of their natural habitats, either directly influenced by human activities or exacerbated by drought conditions.

The Australian White Ibis in South Australia and the Hills

In South Australia, the White Ibis is frequently spotted in and around Adelaide City, lured by the abundance of food, nesting trees in parklands and backyards, and easy access to reliable and permanent water sources. Interestingly, some members of the species have been observed in the Adelaide Hills recently, drawn by similar enticing factors.

A novel monitoring initiative in South Australia, spearheaded by Green Adelaide, aims to enhance our understanding of the Australian White Ibis across Adelaide's metropolitan landscape. This innovative project involves the application of non-invasive leg bands and wing tags to uniquely identify individual birds. This not only facilitates community reporting of specific sightings but also aids in deciphering the movement patterns of particular ibises.

To engage the community further, a citizen science component has been integrated into the project. Residents can actively contribute by using a user-friendly mobile phone app, the Big City Birds app, to document Ibis sightings and share valuable information on these enigmatic birds.

Adelaide Hills Council often receive requests to manage this species. Council do not undertake any kind of fauna management and people are encouraged to visit the National Parks and Wildlife for more information.

Photo credit: Peter Watton.

Subscribe to stay up-to-date with
everything Adelaide Hills Council

Select a newsletter *
Full Name