Micke Grove Zoo

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Waldrapp ibis chicks hatched in April 2015

Two waldrapp ibis (Geronticus eremita) chicks hatched at our facility in the Gardner Mediterranean Aviary. The aviary houses three pairs of waldrapp ibises, an old female, two juvenile males, and two chicks. They share the aviary with six other species that include a pair of cape thick-knees, five speckled pigeons, a male marbled teal, a male smew, four European rollers, and a pair of buff-banded rails.

Colonies of this migratory species have been found in two distinct populations – one in Morocco, and the other in Turkey and Syria. The species is extinct in Europe. Due to the dramatic decline of their free-ranging numbers, the species is considered critically endangered [CR] by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The population decline has been influenced by industrialization and the use of pesticides and insecticides by humans.

Waldrapp ibises are large birds with glossy, black feathers that have shades of iridescent green and violet colors. They live on cliff edges in barren, arid rocky habitats where they feed on reptiles and invertebrates. They are communal nesters, and are known to build their nests on rock outcrops on cliffs. They are monogamous and they reach sexual maturity at three years of age. Females lay two to four eggs that are incubated by both parents.

[Above] The Gardner Mediterranean Aviary houses 11 waldrapp ibises. These big black birds with glossy feathers are communal nesters

At Micke Grove Zoo, the waldrapp ibises are taken care of by animal care specialist, Colleen Mullikin. Shared by Mullikin, “We are excited to be a part of the waldrapp ibis SSP and proud to have hatched seven eggs in the last few years to help with population growth”

The Association of Zoo and Aquariums (AZA) has a species survival plan for waldrapp ibis that Micke Grove Zoo is a part of. Through this program, we are keen on conservation the species through breeding them successfully in captivity, and by sharing vital information about conservation efforts being conducted, with the visiting public.

For more information on Micke Grove Zoo's efforts to conserve waldrapp ibis, CLICK HERE

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[Above] Two chicks hatched on April 29, 2015