You’ve probably seen them stalking around parks, digging their long spindly beaks into bins and sifting through various specks of rubbish on the ground.
The Australian ‘bin chicken,’ or Australian white ibis, is a familiar sight around Australian cities. But according to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the bin chicken’s relative, the straw-necked ibis, is a little more elusive—so much so, that the CSIRO is encouraging the public to report sightings of the bird.
The straw-necked ibis is fairly similar in appearance to its all- white cousin, with the same long torso and thin, hooked beak. However, the straw-necked ibis has black feathers with a slight rainbow hue and yellow feathers , which resemble straw on their necks.
Image: The Straw-necked ibis, provided by CSIRO.
The CSIRO is urging the public to report sightings of these birds as part of the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, so that the CSIRO can accurately record and survey the birds’ numbers with GPS trackers.
Unlike the white ibis, which migrates to urban areas permanently, the straw-necked ibis can visit the city and then return to its natural habitat.
Heather McGinness, a senior research scientist from CSIRO, want’s to make sure the species survives.
"With waterbird populations in decline across the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia, efforts to improve and maintain waterbird habitats need to be guided by better knowledge of what waterbirds need, where and when, ” “she explains on her research project’s website.
Usually According to McGinness, the straw-necked ibis is found near the water around eastern Australia. They eat locust, grasshoppers, grubs, and yabbies.
Image:Map shows last year’s tracks,provided by CSIRO
The GPS tracking that researchers wish to use in the coming months will be attached to the birds and equipped with solar power satellite transmitters.
“After the trackers are attached, scientists are also keen to involve citizen scientists in spotting the tracked birds in their local areas and recording things like how many birds the tracked bird is with and what habitat it is using. Local knowledge at the time and on the spot is invaluable,” McGinness told National Geographic.
Dr. McGuinness believes the birds are heading towards the coast because of the dry weather Australia has experienced over the last few months.
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Lead Image: Straw necked ibis CSIRO.