Northern Bald Ibis

(Geronticus eremita)




Facts about this animal

The Bald Ibis is a hen-sized, black bird. The length (tip of beak to tail) is 75 cm. The head is completely naked in adult birds, the skin is reddish. The beak is long and downwards curved. It has a dark, metallic black iridescent plumage with green and purple area on the folded wing. The legs are red. There is no marked sexual dimorphism.

Did you know?
that there are eight times as many waldrapp ibises in zoos than survive in the wild? The prosperous zoo population is in the order of 2000 birds. In the wild the species is critically endangered with only about 250 specimens surviving in Morocco and an even smaller number in Turkey and Syria.


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Geronticus eremita
Name (English) Northern Bald Ibis
Name (French) Ibis chauve
Name (German) Waldrapp
Name (Spanish) Ibis eremita
Local names Arab: Beshar el Kheir (Beshar, Bashar,B'shar meaning "bringer of luck")
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Appendix I Included in AEWA



Photo Copyright by
Vladimír Motyčka



Range Morocco, Turkey, Syria
Habitat Semi-arid steppe areas and coastal cliffs
Wild population Approx. 200
Zoo population Total zoo population exceeding 1500. 964 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo

Northern Bald Ibis


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 17 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Vladimír Motyčka

Why do zoos keep this animal

The waldrapp ibis is critically endangered in the wild. Therefore, zoos keep the species primarily for conservation reasons. By means of regionally coordinated breeding programmes an ex situ reserve population could be built up, which is several times larger than the extant wild populations. Preparatory work for a reintroduction is being done in Morocco, and several research programmes are being carried out in Europe with a view of reintroducing the species to the wild.