Colour of Ibisbill
Ibisbill is of grey with a white belly, red legs and long down-curved bill, and a black face and black breast band. It occurs on the shingle riverbanks of the high plateau of central Asia and the Himalayan Mountain Range.
Description of Ibisbill
There are no subspecies of Ibisbill. Ibisbill was described in 1831 by Vigors based on painting by John Gould although Brian Hodgson had sent a manuscript to the Asiatic Society of Bengal, located in Kolkata, West Bengal two years earlier describing it as the "Red-billed Erolia".
Structure of Ibisbill
Ibisbill is 38 to 41 centimetres in length and is quite unmistakable in appearance. The adult is grey with a white belly, a crimson, long down-curved bill, and a black face and black breast band. The sexes are similar, but young birds lack the black on the face and breast, and the bill is duller.
Bill of Ibisbill
The bill of Ibisbill is 6.8-8.2 cm long and is slightly longer in females. The legs of Ibisbill are greyish purple in the breeding adults and dull sepia in juveniles or greenish in younger or non-breeding adults. The legs of deceased ibisbills change colour to crimson similar to the bill shade shortly after death. The tarsi is short and reticulated. Ibisbill has three toes, lacking the hind toe. The outer and middle toes are connected by a small, indented web, while the middle and inner toes possess no webbing. Ibisbill typically weighs 270-320 g (9.5-11.3 oz) and females weigh slightly more than males. In spite of its spectacular appearance it is inconspicuous in its stony environment. The call is a ringing Klew-klew similar to that of a greenshank. In flight, its outstretched neck and rounded wings give an ibis-like appearance.
Breeding of Ibisbill
Ibisbill breeds across southern Central Asia along stony riverbeds, typically between 1,700 and 4,400 m (5,600 and 14,400 ft), although there are records of the ibisbill breeding as low as 500 m (1,600 ft). Outside the breeding season, it may descend as low as 100 m (330 ft). It typically is found in shingle-bed river valleys from 100 to 1,500 m (330 to 4,920 ft) across with patches of sand and silt mixed in with pebbles and small boulders. The river valleys frequented by the ibisbill tend to have very little vegetation and gentle slopes to ensure a slow flow of water. It must live near slow-flowing water in order to feed, limiting its habitat despite a large range.
Behaviour of Ibisbill
During the autumn and winter, Ibisbill is solitary, though they can be found in pairs or in small flocks of up to eight birds. One group of 25 ibisbills has been reported. Ibisbills breed solitarily and are territorial, though limited habitat availability can cause ibisbills to breed while neighbouring others. They are generally not shy of humans. They are good swimmers and prefer crossing rivers by swimming instead of flying. The wintering birds of Ibisbill family tend to be fairly inactive, while they become more active and noisy as the breeding season approaches.
Nests of Ibisbill
The nest of Ibisbill is located on a bank, island or peninsula on the river, and is little more than a scrape on the ground, which may sometimes be lined with small pebbles. Eggs are laid in the end of April and the beginning of May. The clutch size of Ibisbill varies from two to four oval eggs. The behaviour of adults near the nest are said to be similar to lapwings. The exact time taken to incubate the eggs is unknown, but both parents share incubation duties. It is suspected that chicks from the previous brood may act as helpers at the nest.
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