1541. Ibis melanocephala.
The White Ibis.
Tantalus melanocephalus, Lath. Ind. Orn. ii, p. 709 (1790). Ibis melanocephalus, Vieill. Nouv. Diet. d'Hist. Nat. xvi, p. 23; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 158; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 484; Cripps, S. F. vii, p. 310; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1106 ; Hume, Cat. p. 941; Doig, S. F. viii, pp. 372, 377; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 91 ; Butler, ibid. p. 435 ; Reid, S. F. x, p. 77 ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 268 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 390; id. Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 151; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 338 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 226 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxvi, p. 7. Threskiornis melanocephalus, Gray, Cat. Mamm. etc. Coll. Hodgs. p. 137; Blyth, Cat. p. 275 ; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 768; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 255 ; Hume, N. & E p. 632; id. S. F. i, p. 257 ; Adam, ibid. p. 400; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 25 ; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 231. Thresciornis melanocephalus, Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 174; Beavan, Ibis, 1868, p. 399.
Munda, Safed Baza, Didhar, H.; Kacha-tor, Purneah; Sabut-buza, Do-chora, Beng.; Tatu-koka, Cing. ; Kayusoti, Burm.
Coloration. Plumage white, the ends of the tertiaries slaty grey, and generally the tips of the first primaries edged or mottled with brown. In breeding-plumage there are elongate white feathers round the base of the neck and plumes on the upper breast, and the grey tertiaries are elongate and loose-textured.
Young birds have the head and neck feathered as far forward as the eyes; the head, except beneath, blackish grey, which passes gradually into white on the hind neck.
Bill black ; irides red-brown ; head and neck dark bluish black ; legs glossy black ; skin of wing bloods-red.
Length 30 ; tail 5 ; wing 14 ; tarsus 4 ; bill from gape 6.5.
Distribution. Throughout India, Ceylon, and Burma in suitable localities, also in China and Southern Japan.
Habit's, &c. The White Ibis is a resident, most common in those parts of the plains of India where there are large marshes with high reeds and trees growing in them, but it may be found wherever there are rivers or large tanks; generally in flocks, except in the breeding-season. It feeds on mollusca, Crustacea, insects, worms, &c. The breeding-season is from June to August in Northern India, November to February in Ceylon, and the nest is of sticks on a large tree, several pairs of birds often nesting together. The eggs are from 2 to 4 in number, generally 3, bluish or greenish white, as a rule without markings, but occasionally delicately spotted with yellowish brown, and they measure on an average 2.54 by 1.7.