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Title: Ibis  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Threskiornithidae, Eudocimus, Northern bald ibis, African sacred ibis, Bostrychia
Collection: Bird Subfamilies, Ibises, Threskiornithidae
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The ibises (collective plural ibis;[1] classical plurals ibides[2][3] and ibes[3]) are a group of long-legged wading birds in the family Threskiornithidae.

They all have long, down-curved bills, and usually feed as a group, probing mud for food items, usually crustaceans. Most species nest in trees, often with spoonbills or herons.

The word ibis comes from Latin ibis[4] from Greek ἶβις ibis from Egyptian hb, hīb.[5]


  • Species in taxonomic order 1
  • In culture 2
  • Species images 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Species in taxonomic order

There are 28 extant species and 2 extinct species of ibis.

An extinct species, the Jamaican ibis or clubbed-wing ibis (Xenicibis xympithecus) was uniquely characterized by its club-like wings.

In culture

The African sacred ibis was an object of religious veneration in ancient Egypt, particularly associated with the deity Djehuty or otherwise commonly referred to in Greek as Thoth. He is responsible for writing, mathematics, measurement and time as well as the moon and magic.[6] In artworks of the Late Period of Ancient Egypt, Thoth is popularly depicted as an ibis-headed man in the act of writing.[6]

At the town of Hermopolis, ibises were reared specifically for sacrificial purposes and in the serapeum at Saqqara, archaeologists found the mummies of one and a half million ibises and hundreds of thousands of falcons.[7]

According to local legend in the Birecik area, the northern bald ibis was one of the first birds that Noah released from the Ark as a symbol of fertility,[8] and a lingering religious sentiment in Turkey helped the colonies there to survive long after the demise of the species in Europe.[9]

The mascot of the University of Miami is an American white ibis. The ibis was selected as the school mascot because of its legendary bravery during hurricanes. According to legend, the ibis is the last sign of wildlife to take shelter before a hurricane hits and the first to reappear once the storm has passed.[10]

Harvard University's humor magazine, Harvard Lampoon uses ibis as its symbol. A copper statue of an ibis is prominently displayed on the roof of the Harvard Lampoon Building at 44 Bow Street.

A short story "The Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst uses the sable-hued bird as foreshadowing for a character's death and as the primary symbol.

The African sacred ibis is the unit symbol of the Israeli Special Forces unit known as Unit 212 or Maglan (Hebrew מגלן).

According to biblical tradition, Moses used the ibis to help him defeat the Ethiopians.[11]

Species images


  1. ^ "ibis". Unabridged. Retrieved 6 October 2009. 
  2. ^ C. A. M. Fennell, ed. (1892). The Stanford dictionary of Anglicised words and phrases. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 453.  
  3. ^ a b Pierce, Robert Morris (1910). Dictionary of Hard Words. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company. p. 270.  
  4. ^ "ibis". Chambers Dictionary.
  5. ^ R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, p. 575.
  6. ^ a b  
  7. ^ Fleming, Furgus; Alan Lothian; Duncan Baird Publishers. The Way to Eternity: Egyptian Myth. Amsterdam: Time-Life Books. 1997. pp. 66-67
  8. ^ Shuker, Karl (2003). The Beasts That Hide from Man: Seeking the World's Last Undiscovered Animals. Cosimo. pp. 166–168.   "Dreams of a feathered Geronticus"
  9. ^ Beintema, Nienke. "Saving a charismatic bird" (PDF). AEWA Secretariat. Retrieved 11 December 2008. 
  10. ^ Hurricane sports
  11. ^

External links

  • Ibis videos - at Internet Bird Collection
  •  "Ibis".  

The dictionary definition of ibis at Wiktionary

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