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Glossy Ibis

Plegadis falcinellus Linnaeus, 1766

Ibis falcinellus: Finsh, 1859: 386; Sintenis, 1877: 66; Radakoff 1879: 174; Falcinellus igneus: Hristovich, 1890: 220; Reiser, 1894: 156; Klain, 1909: 113.

Order Ciconiiformes

Family Threskiornithidae

Conservation status: in Bulgaria: Critically endangered CR=B[1a+2a]+C, BDA-II, III; International: BeC-II, BoC-II, ECS-Spec 3, BD-I.

General distribution. A species of the Old World. It breeds in Southern Europe, Asia, Africa, Central America, the Philipine Islands, the islands Celebes and Java, Australia. The numbers of the species are characterized by large fluctuations in the separate years; in the Eastern Mediterranean they are 24 000 27 000 breeding pairs [1].

Distribution and abundance in Bulgaria. A breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Since the middle of the 19th century it has been breeding with separate discontinuations in three major habitats: the lakes Belene and Srebarna and the Burgas lakes; in the second half of the 20th century it was also found along the rivers Maritsa and Tundzha [2, 3]. Today there are 4 habitats with certain, 3 with probable, and 9 with possible breeding [4]. In the major breeding habitat, the Srebarna reserve, the numbers in the 2001-2003 period were 10-28 breeding pairs [5]. The abundance of the breeding population in the country is estimated at 100-700 in 5-9 breeding colonies [3], 200-300 [6], 60-80 [7]. 50-150 breeding pairs [4].

Habitats. Freshwater lakes and marshes with large reedbeds, flooded and oak forests, fish farms, reservoirs and microreservoirs, water basins with waters rich in organic substances.

Biology. It breeds in mixed colonies of cormorants, herons and spoonbills. The nests are situated in reeds or on the lower branches of Willow trees and White Poplar. It breeds 3-5 young ones that start flying from the beginning of July. The food consists of larvae of water insects, crustaceans, snails and other invertebrate animals.

Similar species. None.

Negative factors. Unknown; probably the drying up and the degradation of the wetlands.

Conservation measures taken. A protected species as of 1962, included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria (1985); a plan for the management of Srebarna reserve has been prepared; three of the Burgas lakes are declared Ramsar sites.

Conservation measures needed. Preparation of a national plan for the conservation of the species, study of the feeding places around Srebarna, declaration of a bilateral reserve with Romania.

References. 1. Wetlands International, 2002; 2. Michev, 1985; 3. Simeonov et al., 1989; 4. Iankov, in press; 5. Kambourova, 2004; 6. Kostadinova, 1997; 7. Nankinov et al., 2004.

Authors: Tanyo Michev, Nevena Kambourova, Boyan Michev


Glossy Ibis (distribution map)

Glossy Ibis (drawing)