Straw-necked Ibis

If you’re visiting Winton Wetlands you’ve probably noticed Straw-necked Ibis, including flocks perched in the trees on the downstream side of the boat ramp.

We also have about 200 Straw-necked Ibis camped next to the Lunette.

Dr Heather McGuinness (Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO Land and Water) says that the CSIRO has about 30 birds from Kerang and Kow Swamp (maybe Barmah too) tagged with satellite tags and they may also visit Winton Wetlands!

We’ll know that  Straw-necked Ibis are breeding at Winton Wetlands if we see them flushing out of the rushes, or circling to land in the rushes, especially if the spot is surrounded by water.

Let us know if you see this behaviour while you are visiting Winton Wetlands!

It can also help if we track the proportion of adults to juveniles and males to females. There are photos on the Waterbirds Australia Facebook page showing what to look for.

Juvenile Straw-necked Ibis

Juvenile Straw-necked Ibis are slightly smaller with slightly shorter bills, have more fluff/feathers higher on their neck/heads, don’t have yellow ‘straws’ on their necks. They have dark black/grey legs, and have duller black feathers without so much rainbow or oily sheen.

Adult Straw-necked Ibis

Adults are large, have glossy rainbow/oily black wing and back feathers, red legs, yellow straws on their necks, brilliant white underparts and neck feathers. Keep in mind that there is variation in neck feather coloration – some are entirely black!

Females have a black band across their chest while males have a white stripe from under their chins vertically all the way down their chest.

These features can be difficult to see when the birds have luxuriant ‘straws’.

Tell us what you see!

If we can keep an eye out for these birds and what they are doing it could prove very interesting. If they breed at Winton Wetlands, that would be new information that will be useful for research.

The extra water that fell in the recent heavy rains may trigger this.

We want to hear from you if you have seen Straw-necked Ibis while you are visiting Winton Wetlands!


Thanks to John Spencer photography for permission to use his beautiful photographs of Straw-necked Ibis at Winton Wetlands.