Black Headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus)
The Black headed ibis or Threskiornis melanocephalus also known as the Oriental white Ibis, the Indian white Ibis and the Black necked Ibis is a species which is dwindling in population and classified as a “Near Threatened” species by the IUCN and is vulnerable to endangerment in the near future. It is found in China, Hongkong, Russia, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Mayanmar, Malaysia, Nepal, Phillipines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Veitnam and Pakistan. It is often referred to as a wetland species. It is a seasonal migrant, terrestrial and congregatory. It closely resembles the Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis molacca) and the African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus).
It is a large white marsh bird with naked black head and neck and long, stout, black, down curved, curlew like bill. They feed on frogs, crustaceans, fishes and insects. In breeding plumage some slaty grey patches may develop on scapulars and in wings and ornamental plumes at base of neck. Sexes are a like but females may be a little smaller with smaller beaks. It lacks a true voice producing mechanism and is silent except for peculiar ventriloqual grunts uttered when nesting.
Nesting is from June to August in North India and November to February in South India on trees in or near water and usually on mixed heronries only in the rainy season. It builds a platform nest of sticks usually along with those of Darters, Cormorants, Open billed storks and Egrets. Eggs are 2 to 4, blush or greenish white sometimes with delicate spots of yellowish brown. Both parents share parental duties.
Acknowledgements-Dr. Yashpal Singh, Mrs. Neena Singh, Mr. Rajesh Bedi, Manoj Kumar Yadav