Backyard Buddies
White Ibis

Photo: Rosie-Nicolai

White Ibis

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These water birds are sometimes cursed and shooed from family picnics in parks.

Trying to chase ibises from urban areas is ineffective, and also very short sighted. It’s important to understand why we see ibises in such numbers in our cities.

Habitat destruction and droughts in rural areas have devastated their natural homes. The abundance of clean water and food in our cities has enticed them in just to survive.

Rebuilding wetland habitats, keeping our cities clean, and covering all bins are better ways to help ibises and humans live together. So don’t stress about these bird buddies - try to enjoy the White Ibises near you.

Love is in the air

White Ibises might not be known for their good looks or charm but they are actually very romantic buddies.

During their breeding season, which is usually towards the end of winter until the start of summer, male ibises will put on quite a show for the females.

First the male needs to find a displaying platform which is usually a branch on a tree. Joining him are other hopeful performing males.

When a female approaches, all the males will begin their deep bows towards her. She will then choose her favourite male and as she comes over, the male will offer her a bouquet...of leaves or sticks. She will take this offering and then they commence preening each other. Following their courting, they will fly off into the sunset to start building their nest and creating a family.

You can look after the White Ibis in your own backyard

Carry a bag in your car or jacket pocket to place rubbish in when you go for a walk, and dispose of it appropriately. Cigarette butts, plastic bags, drink bottles, chip packets and bottle caps often end up in our waterways and harm marine animals and water birds.

A single plastic bag can last for hundreds of years in salt water, and can cause many marine fatalities before it eventually gets broken up. But you can help stop the problem by using reusable fabric bags.

Simple things that you do can make a huge difference to Australia’s animals.

That’s why the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is running Backyard Buddies— to give you tips to help.

What is a backyard buddy?

Backyard buddies are the native animals that share our built-up areas, our beaches and waterways, our backyards and our parks. The White Ibis is a backyard buddy.

Backyard buddies are also the local people who value the living things around them, like White Ibises, and are willing to protect and encourage them by doing a few simple things around their own homes. So you can be a backyard buddy.

Be a backyard buddy

It’s easy. All you have to do is care... and take a few simple steps.

Step one is to find out what White Ibises do and do not like.

White Ibises love:

Lawns – where they can search for delicious bugs to eat, which helps keep your lawn healthy.

Waterways – especially freshwater streams, swamps, and marshes.

Showing off – during breeding season to impress their mates with elaborate bowing and gifts.

But they don't like:

Belly aches – after they’ve eaten too much human food or rubbish from park bins, so secure bins so ibises can’t get in.

Garden chemicals – which get washed away from the garden by rain and enter rivers, streams and swamps. These chemicals can cause algal blooms which make waterways unhealthy for White Ibises and the waterweeds and insects they eat.

Getting chased – away from their urban nesting sites. There are not many other places that they can go.

Be a White Ibis buddy

Try to:


Don't be surprised if:

Find out more about your buddies

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