›      ›   Ibisbill - Ibidorhyncha struthersii

The ibisbill (Ibidorhyncha struthersii) belongs to the exclusive Ibisbill family Ibidorhynchidae.

The ibisbill species are distributed in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and China. Though ibisbill superficially resembles ibis, it is closely related to oystercatchers, avocets and stilts. The ibisbill is a monotypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Ibisbill Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Ibisbill - Overview

  • Scientific name: Ibidorhyncha struthersii
  • Species author: Vigors, 1832
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Ibidorhyncha Struthersii Vigors, 1832, Clorhynchus strophiatus
  • Family: Ibidorhynchidae › Charadriiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Ibisbill, Chinese: 鹮嘴鹬, French: Bec-d’ibis tibétain, German: Ibisschnabel, Spanish: Picoibis, Russian: Серпоклюв, Japanese: トキハシゲリ
  • Other names: Ibis Bill
  • Distribution: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, China
  • Diet and feeding habits: fish, aquatic invertebrates, aquatic insects and larvae
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Appearance, physical description and identification

The ibisbill (Ibidorhyncha struthersii) is a medium-sized wader, measuring 38 to 42 cm in length and weighing 270 to 320 grams. The wingspan is 75 cm. Though ibisbill has a superficial resemblance to an ibis, it is closely related to oystercatchers, avocets and stilts.

The upperparts and wing-coverts are pale grayish brown. The face and crown are black with a narrow white border. The rest of the head and the neck are pale bluish gray. There is a dark broad breast-band which is bordered white above.

The ibisbill underparts are whitish. The tail appears short and has a terminal dark band, broken at center. In flight, the legs do not reach the tail. The legs are short. There is partial webbing between middle and outer toes.

Both the sexes look similar. In breeding males the bill is slightly shorter than the females. The bill is long and decurved. The bill is colored deep red in breeders and dull brownish red in juveniles.

In breeding ibisbill the leg color varies from purple red, grayish purple and purple. In non-breeding birds the legs are pale grayish purple. There is faint white streaking around the base of the bill in breeding birds; the streaking is more extensive in non-breeders.

The ibisbill juveniles have dark gray crown. The face is gray and mottled white. The head and neck are gray. The breast-band is dark brown. Their call is a repeated "sisi-sisi-sip" sound.
Indian birds - Picture of Ibisbill - Ibidorhyncha struthersii
Birds of India - Image of Ibisbill - Ibidorhyncha struthersii by Subramanya C K

Birds of India - Photo of Ibisbill - Ibidorhyncha struthersii
Indian birds - Picture of Ibisbill - Ibidorhyncha struthersii by Dr. Raju Kasambe

Indian birds - Image of Ibisbill - Ibidorhyncha struthersii
Birds of India - Photo of Ibisbill - Ibidorhyncha struthersii by Mohanram Kemparaju

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The ibisbill species occur in gravel and boulder strewn mountain valley floors and high plateau of central Asia, Himalayas and China.

The ibisbill species are distributed in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and China.

In India, these ibisbill species are distributed in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of these ibisbill species in Kazakhstan are, Almaty State Nature Reserve, Big Almaty Gorge and Assy Plateau. The IBA in Kyrgyzstan are, Western Alai and Kok-Suu river.

The IBA of ibisbill species in Tajikistan are, Dashtidjum, Ishkashim and Drumkul Lake. The IBA in Nepal are, Sagarmatha National Park, Makalu Barun National Park, Langtang National Park and Annapurna Conservation Area.

Ecosystem and habitat

These ibisbill species do not normally occur in forests. These species occur in altitudes from 100 to 4400 meters.

The natural ecosystems of these ibisbill species include shingle-bed mountain river valleys, high rocky plateaus, montane wetlands, rivers, streams and creeks.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these ibisbill species is mostly aquatic invertebrates. Fish, crustaceans and aquatic and terrestrial insects are their primary food.

These ibisbill species feed by picking the prey from the surface of the water as well as immersing head to probe among the gravels and boulders. They also forage in short vegetation for insect prey.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these ibisbill species is from April to June. The ibisbill species are monogamous. The nesting sites are located on gravel and stony riverbeds and banks.

The nest is usually a bare scrape on the ground. Sometimes it may be lined with small pebbles. The clutch may contain two to four oval eggs. Both the parents take turns to incubate the eggs. The incubation time is not known.

Migration and movement patterns

The ibisbill species are altitudinal migrant birds.

These ibisbill breed in higher altitudes in summer and move to lower altitudes for wintering. Post breeding, the juveniles may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the ibisbill (Ibidorhyncha struthersii) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of these ibisbill species is not known.

Throughout its range the ibisbill species is reported to be locally rare to uncommon. The generation length is 9.6 years. Its distribution size is about 7,440,000 sq.km. Habitat loss is the main threat that may endanger the survival of these ibisbill species.

IUCN and CITES status

The ibisbill (Ibidorhyncha struthersii) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable, either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the ibisbill species and has listed it as of "Least Concern". The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the ibisbill (Ibidorhyncha struthersii).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Ibidorhyncha struthersii
Species:I. struthersii
Binomial name:Ibidorhyncha struthersii
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
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1.Photo source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:JC_Ibisbill.jpg (cropped)
Photo author: Subramanya C K | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
2.Photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ibisbill_Ibidorhyncha_struthersii_by_Dr_Raju_Kasambe_(5).jpg (cropped)
Photo author: Dr. Raju Kasambe | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
3.Photo source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ibisbill4.jpg (cropped)
Photo author: Mohanram Kemparaju | License: CC BY 3.0 as on 6/20/17
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