Same day as I photographed sun bathing Little Cormorant, on the opposite side of that marsh, I spotted Black-headed Ibis. Ibis was flooded with great evening light. I wanted to get into the marsh and wanted to get water level capture of this bird. Unfortunately bank was very steep and there was hardly any opportunity for me to approach the bird without disturbing it. So I opted for the next best option of shooting it from top of the banking. I used Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens + Canon EF 1.4x III Extender on Gitzo GM5541 Carbon Fiber Monopod.
Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus) belong to wading birds of the family Threskiornithidae. They occur in the warmer parts of the Old World in southern Asia, Australasia and sub-Saharan Africa. They are colonial breeders, which build a stick nest in a tree or bush and lay 2-4 eggs. They occur in marshy wetlands and feed on various fish, frogs, crustaceans and insects.
Adults are typically 75 cm long and white-plumaged, with some greyer areas on the wings. The bald head, the neck and legs are black. The thick down curved bill is dusky yellow.In breeding,plumage some slaty grey on scapulars and in wings and ornamental plumes at base of the neck. Sexes are similar, but juveniles have whiter necks and a black bill.
They inhabit freshwater marshes, lakes, rivers, flooded grasslands, paddy fields, tidal creeks, mudflats, salt marshes and coastal lagoons, usually in extreme lowlands, but occasionally up to 950 m, tending to be nomadic in response to water levels and feeding conditions. Black-headed Ibis occurs in India, Southeast Asia.
They form colonial nest with other Ciconiiformes and often Cormorants. They build an unlined cup shaped stick nest in a tree usually over water and lays 2-4 eggs. The eggs are incubated for about 3 weeks, after which the young fledge after another 7 weeks. This species is highly suspect to predation by crows, man and raptors.
They feed on various fish, frogs and other water creatures, as well as on insects. They walk about actively on marshy land probing with its bill into soft mud and often feeds in shallow water with its head momentarily submerged.
In common with most large wetland species in Asia, this species is undergoing a population reduction. It faces the full gambit of threats, from hunting and disturbance at breeding colonies to drainage and conversion of foraging habitats to agriculture. It consequently qualifies as Near Threatened. It is vulnerable to drainage, disturbance, pollution, agricultural conversion, hunting and collection of eggs and nestlings from colonies. A combination of these factors has probably caused the decline.
They are spread out throughout Indian subcontinent, sedentary, with frequent nomadic movements related to water conditions; population of E China migrates in winter to SE China, occasionally to Taiwan. Rare winter visitor to Japan, with 77 records between 1874 and 1985; likewise rare S to Philippines. Commonly flies in single file or V-formation.