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Monday, March 28, 2011

"Red heads" In Ibis Family

There are quite a few quotes regarding Red-heads; expressing fear, awe, adulation and disconcert. Most societies admit that "Red heads" are different and complicated.  
"All throughout history, from Reuben to Robbins, redheads have been recognized as a rare breed. Blondes may have more fun, brunettes may be brainier, but when it comes down to raw energy, creativity, and personality ... you just can't beat a redhead ..............!" quotes The Redhead Unlimited.
Black Ibis feeding in Mustard fields
Those who have seen the Red Naped ibis, would completely agree that these ibis with their back brown feathers and red caped head are different. The red naped ibis also known as black ibis is common to plains of Indian subcontinent and South east Asia. Does the red colour on its head affect the behavior of the black ibis? How is the Black ibis different from others of Ibis family?

Admiring view from high perch

The black ibis is not an aquatic bird. While most ibises are waders, found near water bodies, the black ibis is a land lubber. It can be found near cultivated fields, waste water bodies, garbage dumping stations and even semi arid desert areas. The Black ibis is an omnivore that eats insects, worms besides plant matter. It is called the "farmer's friend" as it feeds on insects that infest the cultivated crops.
The aquatic ibises build their nests near water bodies in shrubs or on ground; nesting along with other waders like herons, egrets, and storks. However, the Red Naped Ibis nests in tall trees like eucalyptus and neem. It often takes over the abandoned nests of crows, kites or other birds of prey. Building a new nest is rare for the black ibis; renovation of the old nest is a priority for these breeding birds.

Nest in a tall Eucalyptus tree
I found a flock of black ibises, feeding on insects in a mustard field. A group of six birds moved quietly through the standing crop where the only hint of their presence were the red capes bobbing in & out from green plants. Their red capes looked like wooly skull caps, worn to protect their head from cold winter wind. It was difficult to follow the black ibises, as the birds flew out from the fields when they detected a human presence. Hopefully, this red head will not be camera shy the next time.

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