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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Southern Bald Ibis

Afrikaans name: Kalkoenibis

Southern Bald Ibis

Southern Bald Ibis

Photo © Steven Herbert

Geronticus calvus

The Southern Bald Ibis is a rather strange looking bird with its bald head capped in red, red legs and bill and dark greenish-black plumage. They can normally be seen striding along areas of short grass looking for food.

They are only found in the higher grassland areas of South Africa and prefer areas of short grass particularly after it has been burnt.

The Southern Bald Ibis is typically gregarious and can often be seen in flocks although they can be seen singly as well. Their population numbers were in decline but have stabilised at around 2,000 pairs.

Whilst patrolling the grassland they feed on a wide variety of prey including frogs, small mammals, birds, worms, insects and snails.

Despite being fond of grassland areas they make their nests on cliff ledges in mountanous areas. Between 1 and 3 eggs are laid in a nest made of sticks. Both parents tend to the eggs and chicks.

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References and further reading

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Year Published: 1983 - Page: 45

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1959 - Page: 166

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 166

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 7

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 27

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 10

Everyone's Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 74

Ian Sinclair's Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 62

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 84

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 2000 - Page: 84

Rare Birds of the World - Author: Guy Mountford & Norman Arlott - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 107

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Year Published: 1949 - Page: 31

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 50

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1981 - Page: 55

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 72

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 73

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 70

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 58

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 65

The Rare Birds of Southern Africa - Author: P.A. Clancey - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 71

Wading Birds of the World - Revised edition - Author: Eric and Richard Soothill - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 101

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 40

List of South African Birds

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