I’ve always thought of these birds as called ‘Sacred Ibis.’ But when I went to my bird book I found White Ibis, Black-necked Ibis, Sticklebill & Sicklebird.
I went on I Pad & copied the information below. It amazes me how Holy Spirit works. When I saw the Ibis out front I said ‘This is sacred ground around here. Glad we have our shoes & socks off. ‘😉 Read the following & you will see that I already knew the name even before I had seen the name. For sure. Sacred! And I claim Sicklebird too! The Harvest is on if you know what I mean?! And also in one of the Ibis photos that Tony took I thought that they looked something like sheep. But I deleted that one. 😕 So you will have to take my word for it! And if you will read on you will see that they have been called sheep-bird! The indigenous people named the Ibis way nicer & more reflective to its character. Ha ha. Funny God to me. 💛
It was initially described by Georges Cuvier in 1829 as Ibis molucca. It is considered part of a superspecies complex with the Sacred Ibis (T. aethiopicus) of Africa, and the Black-headed Ibis (T. melanocephalus) of Asia. Its status in the complex has vacillated over the years. Many older guidebooks referred to the bird as a species T. molucca, until a comprehensive review of plumage patterns by Holyoak in 1970. Holyoak noted the three species’ similarities and that the Australian taxon resembled T. aethiopicus in adult plumage and T. melanocephalus in juvenile plumage. He proposed they all be considered part of a single species T. aethiopicus. This was generally accepted by the scientific community until Lowe and Richards’s assessment of plumage in 1991. They again recommended the recognition of molucca at species level. This was followed by chromosome study which highlighted each of the three species having a different karyotype. The Australian White Ibis has been considered a full species by most authorities since then.
Alternate colloquial names include “Bin Chicken”, “Dump Chook” or “Tip Turkey”, from its habit of rummaging in garbage, and “Sheep-bird”. It was known as Mardungurra among the Yindjibarndi people of the central and western Pilbara.
Two subspecies are recognised:
T. m. molucca of mainland Australia, is the nominate subspecies.
T. m. pygmaeus (Solomons White Ibis) is a dwarf form found on the Solomon Islands that has been considered a separate species at times.