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Nipponia nipon (aka Japanese Crested Ibis, Asian Crested Ibis)
This species is distinguished by its red facial skin and legs. Non-breeding adults are white, while breeding adults have gray head, neck, mantle and scapulars.
Distribution and Habitat
Once widely distributed through China, Japan and Siberia, the crested ibis is now one of the most endangered birds in the world. The only known remaining population in the wild is in Shaanxi Province in central China.
This bird breeds in areas with a combination of tall trees for nesting and roosting and wetlands or agricultural land for feeding. In winter, the main feeding habitats are rice fields, river banks and reservoirs, mainly close to human settlements.
Crested ibis congregate in flocks, but in spring they form pairs and move to nesting areas.
The crested ibis feeds in shallow water, probing the mud for eels, frogs, crabs, river snails and other molluscs, beetles, and fish.
Breeding pairs build their flimsy twig nests high in trees. The female lays three to four eggs, which are incubated by both parents.
The crested ibis is designated in Japan as a Special Bird for Protection, and in Korea as National Treasure No. 198. It also has full legal protection in the former Soviet Union.
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This page was last updated on June 21, 2017.