Aust birds    Bird names   News   1-26    Habitats    Key plants    Glossary    Plumage    Nests    Tips    Thumbnails    Gen. info    Sponsors    Photos for sale   
NON-PASSERINES     1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10     11     12     13     14 15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     PASSERINES
Common names sorted alphabetically: A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   W   Y  


Straw-necked Ibis

(Threskiornis spinicollis)
Alternate name(s): "Farmer's Friend", "Dryweather-bird", "Letter-bird"
Aboriginal name(s): "paipan", "murrgumurrgu" [yuwaalaraay, yuwaalayaay]

Size: 60-70 cm
Weight: 1.1-1.6 kg
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Straw-necked Ibis at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range


Click here for sighting information



Sex unknown

Frontal view of a Straw-necked Ibis
[Darwin, NT, August 2014]

Near-lateral view of a Straw-necked Ibis
[Darwin, NT, August 2014]

Straw-necked Ibis with its head turned
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2008]

Lateral view of a Straw-necked Ibis
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2008]

This lateral view of a Straw-necked Ibis in bright sunlight clearly shows the brilliant iridescence of the wing feathers (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Carrara, Gold Coast, QLD, April 2015]

Straw-necked Ibises soiled with red soil of the red centre of Australia (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Boolardy Station, Murchison, WA, August 2016]

Pair of Straw-necked Ibises
[Bundjalung NP, NSW, 2005]

Straw-necked Ibises roosting in a dead treetop (photo courtesy of S. Kirkby)

Straw-necked Ibises invading a paddock in large numbers
[Near Narrabri, NSW, 2004]

Straw-necked Ibises taking to flight
[Near Narrabri, NSW, 2005]


Pair of Straw-necked Ibises with two immature birds that are just growing their straw hackles (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Leanyer Swamp, Darwin, NT, March 2019]

Frontal view of a juvenile Straw-necked Ibis foraging on a paddock
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2013]

Near-frontal view of a juvenile Straw-necked Ibis foraging on a paddock
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2013]

Lateral view of a juvenile Straw-necked Ibis foraging on a paddock
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2013]

Lateral view of a juvenile Straw-necked Ibis; note the iridescence of its plumage in these light conditions
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2011]

Close-up lateral view of a juvenile Straw-necked Ibis (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Boondall Wetlands, Brisbane, QLD, August 2017]

Near-dorsal view of a juvenile Straw-necked Ibis
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2011]

Dorsal view of a juvenile Straw-necked Ibis
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2013]

Dorsal view of a fledgling Straw-necked Ibis (photo courtesy C. Hayne)


Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Sedentary/dispersive Elementary unit: Flock

After significant inland rainfall the population of Straw-necked Ibises living along inland rivers, lakes or dams venture out to feed on recently soaked open grasslands, including paddocks.

Flock of Straw-necked Ibises zeroing in on a paddock to give it a good work-over; they appeared a few days after a major rain event
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2011]

Flock of Straw-necked Ibises exploring where to find food; even the last paddocks up creek valleys into the Great Dividing Range are investigated
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, December 2012]

Frontal view of a Straw-necked Ibis tapping the ground in search of grubs
[Darwin, NT, August 2014]

Additional information

Click here to see a group of immature Straw-necked Ibises foraging at our property.

Straw-necked Ibises like flying in a chevron formation to minimize resistence of air turbulence over long distances.

Skein of Straw-necked Ibises flying in a chevron formation
[Near Bellata, NSW, November 2015]

The Straw-necked Ibises at the tip of the "V" take the highest air resistance...
[Near Bellata, NSW, November 2015]

... they are relieved regularly, which makes the shape of the chevron change continuously
[Near Bellata, NSW, November 2015]

Food, Diet

Ibises feed on small animals that they pull out of mud or soft soil. Straw-necked Ibises are also known to scavenge; they are often seen around rubbish tips.

Immature Straw-necked Ibis with a grub in its long bill
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2011]

This immature Straw-necked Ibis has caught a fish (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Straw-necked Ibis having a drink
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2008]


For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

stribis_20200604.m4a (NW NSW) (Departure) © MD
stribis_20200531.m4a (NW NSW) Alarm calls (Peregrine Falcon) © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.