|White Ibis visits TCI for the first time|
|Written by DECR|
|Thursday, 09 February 2012 09:18|
A juvenile white ibis was seen Feb. 3 by the Department of Environment and Coastal Resource’s bird monitoring team at Wheeland Pond on Providenciales.
This is believed to the first recorded sighting of this species (Eudocinus albus) in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The bird is common in the southeastern United States.
The habitat of this species is mangrove, salt and brackish water ponds. They feed by probing their curved beaks in mud for small invertebrates. This bird often wanders out of range and can be approachable, tending to walk away rather than fly. This bird was seen to walk around the wetlands with other birds like a little blue heron.
This bird could be identified with a distinct two-colour pattern combined with shape and down-curved bill, a typical ibis shape. Juvenile white ibises have brown back and streaky neck, contrasted with white underparts, orange bill and pink-grey legs. Young ibis are often smaller than parents with shorter bills.
Unlike most birds, it can take several weeks for a young ibis to be fully grown after fledging. A fully mature white ibis can reach a height of 56 centimeters. It looks like a large white heron with long, down-curved bill and pink legs, which get brighter red in the breeding season. The bill is thick and orange in colour. Black outer flight feathers are clearly visible in flight.
The Bird Monitoring Team also saw flock of bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) on North Caicos and in Wheeland on Providenciales. Likewise, a great white heron (the white colour phase of the great blue heron, a species that is restricted to extreme South Florida and few Caribbean Islands) was also observed on Grand Turk. These birds are migratory and visit the territory during winter season.
We expect that more migratory birds will visit the TCI if we maintain a suitable habitat that includes a clean source of water, healthy wetlands and undisturbed vegetation.
If you notice an unusual or rare bird, please take a photo or contact the DECR. Those who want to get involved in the Bird Monitoring exercise should contact the DECR at 942-5122.
Photo: This juvenile white ibis was seen at Wheeland Pond. (Eric Salamanca/DECR)
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