Posted October 2020
Three Waldrapp Ibis, who hatched between late June and early July, are now fully fledged and flying in the Zoo’s East Flight habitat.
Waldrapp Ibis are listed as Endangered, so any successful hatching of the species adds significant genetic value to the populations in human care. Only a few AZA-accredited zoos are breeding this species currently.
Parents of the birds have had successful hatchings in the past. For feeding of this species as chicks, parents regurgitate a fish/insect/meat mixture made into a “slurry,” eventually offering larger chunks of fish to the chicks, also through regurgitating. Currently they’re offered smelt, capelin, chunks of meat, soaked dog and flamingo food, live crickets and mealworms as their daily diet. Zookeepers scatter the food in pans throughout the East Flight habitat.
It is thought Waldrapp Ibis pairs mate for life, although in MCZ’s current population, there is a pesky male that attempts to break-up this successful pair.
Native to Europe, The Middle East and Northern Africa, the birds feed in semi-arid grasslands where they use their long beak to probe in cracks and fissures for their favorite food of beetles and lizards.
Their numbers in the wild have declined significantly in recent years due to hunting, habitat loss, disturbance of breeding sites and the use of pesticides.
During your next visit, look for these striking, jet-black birds with a featherless head and neck. Often, they can be seen perched high on top of the habitat rockwork.