Straw-necked Ibis

Threskiornis spinicollis

Straw-necked Ibis. Photo: Brian Furby.

Straw-necked Ibis are the most common ibis in Australia, a fact not always appreciated because the Australian White Ibis has become so common in built-up areas.


Straw-necked ibis feed on large insects (beetles, crickets, grasshoppers), spiders, freshwater crayfish, small vertebrates and human refuse. Generally, they forage in groups which may reach hundreds of individuals.

Breeding in South Australia is in the wetter months from August to December. The nest is a shallow cup of sticks, reeds and rushes lined with soft vegetation. The clutch is from 2 to 5 eggs. Chicks have blackish down which is darker on the head and neck.


The head and neck are naked with a dark, slate-grey skin. The neck is covered by a white collar of feathers rising up the nape. The hindneck, upperparts, wings and tail are black with a bronze, green and purple iridescent sheen. The underparts are white. Stiff, yellow, straw-like plumes hang from the foreneck. The bill, legs and feet are black. Males and females are alike with the male being larger and having a longer bill. Immatures are dark brown with the head and neck being feathered.

Where to find it

Straw-necked Ibis frequent shallow wetlands of all types but are not often seen in coastal or saline habitats. They also use cultivated areas, pastures, open forests and dry grasslands. They are partially migratory depending on water conditions and can migrate over long distances. In South Australia they are moderately common in the south and east of the state but uncommon to rare in the north-west and on the Yorke and Eyre Peninsulas.