Species Profile

Northern Bald Ibis : species profile

Scientific name

Geronticus eremita

Common names

Northern Bald Ibis, Hermit Ibis, Waldrapp (German) Ibis Chauve (French), Kelaynak (Turkish), Ibis eremita (Spanish), Aicha el Garaa, Aicha the Bald (Algeria), Abu Minjel, Al Criar (Morocco), Alnuq (Syria)


long, robust and elongated body with a fairly long neck, bill long and curved; legs short and brownish-red; plumage black with a metallic green and  purple   sheen; adult birds with a bald head and throat which are deeply red; a distinct crest on the head; on the bald head a black or grey shaped pattern which differs in each specimen; juvenile birds (<2 years) with shorter head and neck feathers; males slightly larger in bill and wing length than females.


Fledglings are easy to distinguish from adult birds: their head is still covered with short grey feathers which have brown to white stripes. In yearlings these head feathers are just greenish grey. The crest is rather short and they miss the metallic purple or green reflections of the plumage. In their second and third year the young birds loose most of the feather on the head and are becoming bald. However on both side of the head and the throat some feather remain longer. Most birds become sexually mature when 3-4 years old. However, there are reports of 2-year old NBI breeding successfully with an older and experienced partner.


mainly invertebrates including snails, scorpions, ants and their larvae, caterpillars, beetles, spiders, less frequently taken are crickets and locusts, sometimes consumes small vertebrates including lizards, small mammals, nestling birds, and rarely vegetable matter


most distinctive call “chrup”, primarily used in contact with colony members; when excited or disturbed it uses the “Gruh”-call;


The Northern Bald Ibis is a long living species. In captivity birds live an average of 25-30 years.

Crisis to support ibis wardening in Morocco!

Despite 20 years of diligent wardening by the locally based and trained team of ibis wardens, and knowing that this has been the single most effective measure to initiate the slow recovery of the wild population in Morocco – but paying for this has not yet been possible from Government or other institutional sources.

Please help to keep this wardening in place until such support is secured.

Please donate to:

Holder’s Name : GREPOM – PROJETS
Bank : Société Générale
Agency : Rabat Michlifen
N° : 022.810.

It has recently been highlighted as top priority in the revised AEWA international single species action plan for the species.

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