Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Dragon Sensory Hours: The dragons will be asleep from 2 to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Waldrapp Ibis

Geronticus eremita

Waldrapp ibis, also known as the Northern bald ibis, is a large glossy black species with a bare head and neck that is dull red in color. They have feathering around the neck known as a wispy ruff. The rest of their body is covered in long glossy blueish-purple feathers with a metallic green tone. Weighing 8-10 pounds, this long-legged bird is about the size of a large raven.

Range & Habitat

The Waldrapp ibis can be found in semi-arid desert, steppe regions of Morocco in Northwest Africa. They were once found in the European Alps, northern Africa and into the Middle East. Currently, 99% of the population can now only be found in two small areas of Morocco.

Conservation Status: Endangered

This species has been in decline for several centuries due to unidentified natural causes, but a recent rapid decline is the result of many factors including hunting, habitat loss, human activity, pollution, and egg and chick loss due to predation. There is an action recovery plan in place and the 200-249 existing mature individuals in the wild are STABLE for now although they face pollution, deforestation, habitat loss, and predation.


In the Wild - insects, arachnids, reptiles, rodents, small birds, berries, shoots, and various aquatic plants.

At the Zoo –  Insects, nutrition pellets, meat, fruits and vegetables.

Life Span

In the Wild: 10-15 years
In Human Care: 25+ years

Fun Facts about the Waldrapp Ibis

  •  The Waldrapp ibis has different call types. The “croop” is used when greeting or attracting a mate. Researchers call it the croop because it sounds like a rough cough in the throat.
  •  The ibis was considered a sacred bird in ancient Egypt.
  •  Conservation efforts in recent years have increased their numbers enough to move them from Critically Endangered to Endangered.
  •  A gregarious and social bird, ibis normally gather and forage in large colonies. They use their long curved beak to hunt and probe for a wide variety of food.




BirdLife International. 2018. Geronticus eremita. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T22697488A130895601. on 24 February 2021.

Edinburgzoo.(Ed.). (n.d.). Waldrapp Ibis. Retrieved February 24, 2021, from

Maryland Zoo (Ed.). (2021). Waldrapp Ibis. Retrieved February 24, 2021, from

San Francisco Zoo (Ed.). (2017). Waldrapp ibis. Retrieved February 24, 2021, from



Updated June 13, 2023
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