Family Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)

Critically Endangered

Giant Ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea)


French: Ibis géant German: Riesenibis Spanish: Ibis gigante

Ibis gigantea


, 1877,

Mekong River, Cambodia




Once widespread in Indochina, range now much reduced; mostly confined to N Cambodia and extreme S Laos; recently recorded in Vietnam#R. Extinct in Thailand#R.

Descriptive notes

102–106 cm; c. 3515 g (one male). Unmistakable due to large size. Upperwing-coverts mainly silvery grey, contrasting with darker body and flight-feathers. Narrow black... read more


Repeated, loud, ringing “a-leurk a-leurk” at dawn and dusk.


Lowlands, occurring in lakes, swamps, seasonally flooded marshes, paddyfields (although recent... read more

Food and feeding

Until recently, almost nothing known, but now subject to several studies in Cambodia. Stomach contents of one bird contained many crabs,... read more


Until recently nothing was known concerning this species’ breeding ecology, but in recent years many nests have been found and... read more


Presumably sedentary and largely resident, but apparently wanders widely in response to local... read more

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. Once widespread in Indochina, this large ibis is extremely sensitive to human disturbance and was not seen between 1964 and 1993. It is even now... read more

Recommended citation

Matheu, E., del Hoyo, J., Kirwan, G.M., Garcia, E.F.J. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Giant Ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea). 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 20 February 2020).