Family Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)

Least Concern

Australian Ibis (Threskiornis moluccus)


French: Ibis à cou noir German: Australischer Ibis Spanish: Ibis moluqueño
Other common names: Australian White Ibis, Australian Sacred Ibis

Ibis molucca


, 1829,



Closely related to T. aethiopicus, T. bernieri and T. melanocephalus, and in past all were occasionally considered conspecific. Validity of race pygmaeus questioned, but recent examination of specimens shows much smaller size than that to be expected from clinal variation. Population of Australia and S New Guinea has been separated as race strictipennis, but recent studies show it to be identical to birds from Moluccas. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. m. moluccus (Cuvier, 1829) – S Moluccas (S from Seram), W & S New Guinea, and Australia (excluding arid interior); infrequently recorded in E Lesser Sundas (Timor, Babar, Tanimbar)#R#R.
  • T. m. pygmaeus Mayr, 1931 – Bellona I and Rennell I (S Solomon Is).
  • Descriptive notes

    63–76 cm; 1400–2500 g, female lighter; wingspan 110–125 cm. Male generally larger, with longer bill, as in most ibises. Narrow pinkish transversal nuchal... read more


    Mainly vocal around breeding colonies. Calls include drawn-out nasal goose-like barks at different... read more


    Inland wetlands, especially shallow swamps with abundant vegetation, and floodplains; sheltered... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet very variable, depending on habitat. Main prey includes frogs, fish (Gambusia, Perca, Arenigobius, ... read more


    Season very variable according to prevailing water conditions. Usually forms colonies of up to 20,000 pairs, sometimes with other... read more


    Most adults sedentary, although throughout range some irregular, nomadic movements occur, sometimes... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common in Australia, frequently forming large gatherings. The largest colonies are in S New South Wales and Victoria, occasionally... read more

    Recommended citation

    Matheu, E., del Hoyo, J., Garcia, E.F.J. & Boesman, P. (2019). Australian Ibis (Threskiornis moluccus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 April 2019).