Sacred ibis

Threskiornis aethiopicus


Photo credit: ©GBNNS
Threskiornis aethiopicus 
Common Names:
  • Sacred ibis

  • Meadows, marshes, reedbeds, coastal environments, rubbish dumps

  • The sacred ibis is an easily recognisable large white bird with a bald, black head and neck, a thick curved bill and black legs.

Origin and Worldwide Distribution:
  • A native to sub-Saharan Africa, it was first brought into France and Italy as a zoological specimen in the 19th century but has since escaped into the wild.
  • It is currently present in Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Spain.

Potential or Known Impacts:
  • Sacred ibises are highly mobile and adaptable.
  • They feed in a variety of man-made habitats including rubbish tips, farmyards and ploughed fields but are mostly found in wetlands, often in large colonies.
  • Through its feeding habits, it can outcompete and even predate on native water birds, thus causing severe biodiversity losses locally. Colonial-nesting species such as terns and seabirds are particularly vulnerable.

How did it/could it get here?
  • Through zoological or private collections.

Is it found in Ireland or Northern Ireland?
  • Not present in Ireland or Northern Ireland.

Methods for Prevention:
  • A sales ban, the phasing out from zoos, collections and any other ownership, a rapid eradication of any newly emerging populations and the management of established populations should prevent the species from becoming a wider problem in other areas and Member States.
  • Report all sightings to CEDaR.

Current Legislative Position (Listed on 03 August 2016)
  • This species must not intentionally be brought into the Union; kept; bred; transported to, from or within the United Kingdom, unless for the transportation to facilities in the context of eradication; placed on the market; used or exchanged; permitted to reproduce, grown or cultivated; or released into the environment. For further queries, you can contact the Non Native Invasive Species Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558.
Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland